Family therapist John Duffy, my pal and my podcast partner, writes about the vibe in our homes in his new book, “Parenting the New Teen in the Age of Anxiety.” In early therapy sessions, he asks the kids he works with, “As you cross the threshold, do you find home to be more of a refuge or more of a stressor?”
“Too often, the answer is the latter,” he writes. “Home feels tense and stressful for a lot of teenagers. Some kids tell me their parents don’t get along. Others tell me it’s too noisy at home, and others too quiet. Some feel judged whenever they are home. Some feel they are under constant watch, and some feel invisible.”
Duffy encourages parents to check that vibe. To try, where we can, to fill our homes with laughter and conversation. To do a little less policing and a little more relating. Even when our kids are pushing our buttons, pushing our boundaries, pushing us away.
“Your job is to hang in with her, even in the awful moments,” he writes. “How mighty and noble and warrior-like it is as a parent to stay in the game, and hang with your child, in the face of a slammed door, or rejection, or a wretched attitude. Because when they come to you, they let their guard down. They vent. They transfer, or download, a day’s worth of stress and fear and identity traffic and anxiety into the safest place they know: you.”
Read the full article here: https://www.chicagotribune.com/columns/heidi-stevens/ct-heidi-stevens-when-kids-try-new-things-0225-20200225-b2dsha5dlbfjnksq3ug6uwv5jm-story.html