Parenting can create new challenges and hurdles for you and your partner every single day. When you are raising a teen struggling with behavioral health issues or addiction, you and your partner will not always see eye to eye when it comes to the best course of action for discipline. This can make it confusing for your child, as they begin to question which parent they should listen to and what is expected of them.
Being on the same page with your partner when tackling the obstacles that parenting can present is important for your child’s recovery because they need structure and routine. Here are some ways that you can practice working with your partner when stress is high.
Listen to Your Partner…
…they might just surprise you with what they have to say. Sometimes, we can get so caught up in defending our side; we don’t stop to consider other possibilities. If you want your partner to listen to you, you have to listen to them as well. Furthermore, if you want your child to listen and understand, you should be mindful to model those qualities as well. The family unit plays a large part in your child’s recovery, and setting good examples for them on how families and partners interact is important.
Embrace You and Your Partner’s Differences
Think back to when you were a child. If you were faced with romantic troubles, issues with school or friends, or were struggling with your self-image, there was one parent you would have felt more comfortable with speaking about each problem with than the other. Depending on the situation, your child has two completely different viewpoints to bounce ideas off of between you and your partner. This is incredibly beneficial to their decision-making. Also, if you and your partner agreed on every issue, it would more often feel as if it were your child against you two or vice versa.
Embrace the differences between you and your partner because they are not hindering your ability to better parent. They are providing a more dynamic development for your child.
Look at the Bigger Picture
Oftentimes, when raising a struggling teen, it can be easy to become lost in little details and small comments. When you feel as though you and your partner are nit-picking and going in circles with your discussion, it can be beneficial to bring the focus back to the bigger picture and your unified goal. This will reassure you that, even though you and your partner have your differences, you are both fighting for a strong, loving family unit. More often than not, you both are working for better mental health and a stable support system for your child. How you both go about doing this may look different, but remembering that you’re on the same team can allow you to accept the differences.
Focus On Similarities
Focusing on similarities ties into focusing on the bigger picture because one thing you have in common is raising your child to have a high quality of life. Maybe both of you value the importance of counting to ten or limited cell phone use, or both of you make good decisions around respecting your child’s decisions. Whatever you two agree on, sometimes it can help to remind yourself that it’s not always you against them. There are differences between you and your child, just like there are differences between you and your partner. Focusing on the areas you best work in together can allow for you to be comfortable stepping back at times.
Trust Their Opinion
Your partner is also the parent of your recovering teen, and their opinion matters as much as yours does. Sometimes, one of you may be more educated in certain areas of parenting than the other. Even though one of you may be more experienced, it doesn’t mean the other shouldn’t have a say. Family units run on trust and respect. It can be difficult to listen to what someone else has to say about your child and the best route of action, but sometimes the best thing you can do for them is to step back.
Nurture Your Relationship
The rising tension between you and your partner could be a result of neglect of your relationship together. Both of you may have a hand in this disconnect, as your focus has been solely on the health of your struggling teen. Supporting the foundational relationship that formed your family is incredibly important in providing your child with a loving, caring environment. Going on a date, taking a hike, or just spending some quality time at home cooking or watching your favorite TV show together can be a great reminder of the love that started your unit in the first place.
Seeing and feeling the tension between you two will cause them stress and worry, and they may even blame themselves for the conflict. Having both you and your partner’s support is incredibly important to your child’s recovery.
When your child returns home from residential treatment for their behavioral health issues or addiction, it is important that they return to a supportive environment focused on their recovery. If you and your partner spend time arguing or differing on your expectations of your child, it can cause them to become confused and blame themselves for the conflict. In these times, it is important to remind yourself of the bigger picture and embrace your differences for the health of your family. Both you and your partner are working toward a productive, fulfilling future for your child, and the smaller differences in your techniques do not need to spark an argument. Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center believes that you can not heal the child without healing the parents as well. We specialize in treating mental health disorders and addiction in teens ages 12 to 17. Call us today at (303) 443-3343 to explore our many treatment options.