Last night my wife and I started on the 1st of 3 presentations / discussions on surviving the adolescent / teenage years.
Now, I have a relatively good understanding of some of the issues that commonly arise and, given the nature of my profession, you might think that I had a bit of a head start.
WRONG WRONG WRONG!
Just ask my daughter (or actually my wife for that matter!). I am just as likely to say ‘act your age’ as the next parent – which is ironic because given the amount of development that is going on in an average adolescent’s brain, that is exactly what they are doing!
Like learning the lyrics of a song in a foreign language, I recognised the words but not, it turns out, the meaning when it comes to my own little cherub! Who knew they would have difficulty ‘reading’ a sarcastic response from an adult -….well, reading that back now, I suppose pretty much everyone apart from me.
An interesting fact is that a lesser developed but developing part of the adolescent brain can often be responsible for an adolescent misinterpreting a passive / neutral face for an angry one. I am starting to see why sarcasm might not be the best idea!
Any parent who has asked a seemingly innocent question to be answered with a ‘WHAT?’ will recognize this. The problem is that this behaviour normally triggers a response from you. You see, by and large, in some way you will betray yourself by responding, the nearly imperceptible eye roll, the sigh, the frozen smile that silently screams ‘can we try to have one evening meal without an argument…’ thus neatly ensuring the exact thing you don’t want to happen, happens!
Regardless of my profession, and I also know this to be true of a vastly more experienced colleague who specialises in young people generally and neurodivergent children in particular, I was struck by how common and unremarkable the majority of ‘incidents’ are. This isn’t to minimize them at all, but highlight that this is largely a routine process. Usually all our little darlings grow up to become adults and usually our families survive.
You see, it turns out that the majority of issues that come up in a relationship are relatively routine, but the issue is that these concerns usually create behavioural trigger points, as above, so you almost always end up having the same argument time and time again.
If you recognise this ‘relationship dance’ but feel a bit stuck – send me a quick message via www.accessibleonlinecounselling.co.uk and we can arrange a free assessment.
Therefore , if you have emotional involvement in a relationship, you can usually wave goodbye to any notion of objectivity or non-judgement.
Which is why I could never nor would never counsel my family nor any of my relations and good friends. REMEMBER – Do as I say, not as I do!