Ah, the teenage years. A time that seems designed to prepare your kids to move out of the house because you can’t stand each other anymore… at least that’s the stereotypical parent/child relationship, anyway. Want something better? Try to develop a team perspective with your kids and see what happens.
What do I mean by a “team perspective”? It’s basically this: If you and your child(ren) can see that you’re on the same team, then you can look at problems together instead of falling into the trap of treating the other person
A Team Perspective With Your Kids for More Positive Conflict Resolution
As I mention in my e-book, I believe that remembering that you’re on the same team is the first critical principle to having better relationships. Here’s why:
When contention starts brewing, or you start to feel annoyed, the first thing you need to cling to is that you’re both on the same team. If you can remember that, it will change the framework of your conversations. They’ll be more productive, and you’ll feel closer afterward for having kept the team together, instead of pushing the team apart.Ken Trent, Improve Your Relationships Through Better Conflict Resolution, p. 8.
When you develop a team perspective with your kids, the framework of your conversation becomes team-oriented. You start to look at problems between you as something the team needs to overcome together, which is a very different conversation than finger pointing and blame-gaming.
Cultivate A Team Perspective With Your Kids for More Positivity in Life
Teams work together. They celebrate wins together, and they mourn losses together. When you cultivate a team perspective with your kids, you celebrate their wins, and mourn their losses alongside them. When they feel like you’re on their team, they’ll open up more. They’ll engage more positively with you. And, like two oxen working together in an oxen pulling competition, you’ll both get farther in life if you work together.
Being on the same team doesn’t mean you condone or approve of all of their behavior. It also doesn’t mean that you put your friendship above your parent-child relationship. But it does mean that when they mess up, you’re there to lovingly discipline them. It means you feel sorrow for the difficult consequence they face even as you administer it because that’s what loving parents do.
Build a Team Perspective With Your Kids for Lifelong Relationships
Some of my favorite memories of my youth were the teams that I was on. My basketball team in elementary school, my wrestling team in junior high, my track and field team in high school, and the missionaries I served with as a young man in Paraguay. I still love so many of my former teammates for the good memories we share. And I still talk with several of them.
When you build a team perspective with your kids, you make these memories a reality for the rest of your lives and theirs. The love you feel for each other will help smooth over mistakes in your relationship by providing more positive deposits in your emotional bank account than negative withdrawals.
Because when it all comes down to it, your loved ones will be all that really matters to you – and them – at the end of this journey we’re all on.
What do you do to build a team perspective with your kids? What can we learn from your experiences as a parent (or child)? Please let us know in the comments below!