No man is an island and no teen grows up in a vacuum. The second component of our approach is to develop healthier communication between parents and their challenging teenager or young adult. Building skills for communication and expectations helps build the family web that supports teens and young adults.
Most of the young people with whom we work have developed a defensive armor around themselves that makes connecting with family very difficult. Many of our young people view themselves as the black sheep of their family unit. Many feel totally incapable of living up to their family’s expectations and at the same time view their parents as unreasonably demanding and out of touch.
When members of a family are not attuned to each other, communication becomes strained, angry and aggressive. This stems partially from differences in the teen’s and his parents temperament. We are each born with a disposition that shapes at least half of our personality. Today, we label these dispositions as medical conditions, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Asperger Syndrome, Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities, Verbal Learning Disabilities, Anxiety or Depression. When parents and their teens are unaware of the biological factors that underlie some of our behavior patterns, relationships can simply go haywire.
Through weekly video conferences and regular e-mail communication, our family counselors guide the teen or young adult and his/her parents through a series of exercises in improving communication skills. Teens desperately need to feel that they are being heard. At UCananachieve, we teach parents how to listen sensitively and express themselves assertively. Teens are taught to consider the positive aspects of rules and structure and begin to work collaboratively with their parents in a positive and productive manner.
Through a thorough and diligent process of communication with the adolescent and his family, we come to a deeper understanding of how to create a best fit between the young person’s temperament and the family environment. Anger and guilt slowly give way to understanding and cooperation. This gradual process allows parents and children to see a brighter future.
To read about the other two building blocks of our approach, follow the links below:
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