The tears streamed down Kathi’s face as she looked away from her parents. The Jones’ were in a classic battle. Neither Kathi nor her parents were feeling loved by each other. Mrs. Jones remembered a time when Kathi used to sit in her lap and stare endlessly into her eyes. The love between them used to be so strong. Those were the days when Mrs. Jones believed that Kathi and her would always be the best of friends. But today was much different. Now their days were filled with yelling and constant battles that were almost hateful. Where had the days gone when Kathi would trustingly leap into her daddy’s arms? If only they had known that one question could have made the teenage years so much better.
You’re probably wondering how one question can change your relationship with your teenager. It’s difficult to believe that something so important could be so simple. You may be feeling angry, confused, hurt or perhaps even alone; but yes, this question can improve or even save your relationship with your teenager.
First, Two Preliminary Questions
Before we get to the one question that can improve or even save a family’s relationship, two preliminary questions need to be answered. First, determine the type of relationship your family wants to have. By using a scale from zero to ten, with zero being terrible and ten being a great family, a powerful question to ask is where would you like the relationship to be? By asking this type of question, you can clearly see the kind of relationship your family longs to have. Naturally, almost every person answers that they would like to have a nine or a ten. After all, how many of us want to live in misery?
Next, evaluate where the relationship is currently. Ask your family members on a scale from zero to ten, overall, where would you rate the family’s relationship today? If a difference occurs between the different members of your family, don’t let this discourage you. Be sure to give each other the necessary time to share why you rated the family relationship the way you did. Each opinion can provide such valuable information.
The next question is the crucial one. In fact, in some ways it doesn’t matter how the other questions were answered. Potentially, this question can flip open the pages to each other’s built-in parenting manuals. The question that can improve or even save a relationship: As you consider our family’s relationship, what are some specific things we can do over the next week that would move us closer to a ten?
Listen For Ways To Improve
As this question is being answered, listen for the exact things your family members are communicating. The power of this question is that the focus of the relationship is changed. Instead of feeling overwhelmed because the focus is on the problems, listing the ways to improve the relationship turns the attention towards solutions. Being in the middle of a family conflict can feel like you’re stuck in quicksand. The more you dwell on the problem and who’s to blame, the faster and deeper one sinks. However, solutions are like a rope tied to a tree. They provide the means to change, therefore freeing the relationship from sinking hopelessly in the quicksand.
We are convinced that answering this type of question on a weekly basis could reduce long-standing family problems. The key is remembering that love is a decision and not merely a feeling. Many times we do not feel like loving our different family members, especially the teenagers. We can, however, make the decision to love them by doing the things that strengthen the relationship. Questions like the one mentioned here can help as you make the decision to love each person in your family and make the teenage years pleasant.
Tell us! What is your vision for your relationship with your teenager?