Any parenting decision about their teenager they face is only secondarily about the adolescent; it is primarily about the marriage. If they can’t keep together as parents, they are going to have a harder time keeping together as partners.
When mother and father are in un-reconciled opposition over the adolescent–about what is the matter, what to do, and if to get help–this ongoing tension can create acute emotional discomfort in the teenager who can blame her or himself as the source of parental discord, and has no good way to ease it. “It’s my fault my parents can’t get along!” Or the young person can exploit the division to their advantage. “I go to whichever parent I know will say ‘yes,'”
When parental decision-making turn into contests for adult control, when parenting decisions are unilaterally being made on each side, or when one parent abandons some aspect of parenting to the other to escape the conflict, welfare of the marriage can endangered. In each case, their relationship suffers because partners cannot “marry” around a joint child raising decision both agree to support.
The High Structure Parent strongly believes in being strict, clearly stating what is consistently wanted and expected. Rules are firm and to be obeyed. They should not be questioned and are not up for negotiation or change. They should be as respected as the authorities who made them for safety’s and responsibility’s sake. Any violations should have corrective consequences. The parent’s job is to make the rules stick to keep the adolescent on a sound track.
The High Flexible Parent strongly believes in being sensitive, willing to be accommodating to fit changing needs and special circumstances. Rules are guidelines that represent parental values and concerns, meant to provide adolescents with a framework to function in. This framework can be questioned and sometimes negotiated. The parent’s job is to keep communication open so family structure can be discussed and sometimes altered when there is growing adolescent need.
Such different operating beliefs would encounter more disagreements when their child starts adolescence. Now issues of how much to demand of the young person, and how much to permit the young person, becomes increasingly problematic.
At JUST – MEDIATE each parent has an important piece of the puzzle. Structure is important for creating a system for constructive conduct that the adolescent can be expected to follow. Structure holds the line. Flexibility is important for recognizing changing individual needs of the young person and exceptionality of circumstance. JUST MEDIATE facliltates the flexibility to adjust the line.