Ep 135: Fractured Families
We have arguments with our teens about little things everyday–what to have for dinner, whether they can take the car out, what they’re wearing to school that day, et, etc. And although these skirmishes can seem small, they tend to add up. Suddenly, you tell your teen to put away their shoes one day, and they’re screaming at you, saying you’re ruining their life. It’s not the shoes that have them hysterical, it’s the cumulative effect of all the little disagreements over time!
Most of the time when these fights erupt, no one wants to apologize first. Distance can grow between the two of you. You become more and more certain that YOU were right and the OTHER person was acting crazy. You find other people who agree with you, and you stop questioning yourself. Then things just get worse until you find your relationship permanently damaged. In serious cases, you might even find yourself estranged from your kid.
To understand how we can handle these Earth-shaking arguments with grace and prevent a deep rift from forming, we’re talking to Karl Pillemer, author of Fault Lines: Fractured Families and How to Mend Them. Karl’s a sociologist who’s been researching estrangement between family members for years. He’s become acutely aware of how seemingly small disagreements can grow to jeopardize relationships.
In our interview, Karl and I break down what parents of teens should know about patching up arguments and preventing permanent damage. We dive into what you should do when you and your teen have disputes over values or lifestyle choices. We also talk about what leads family members to become alienated from one another, and how you can keep your teen from shutting you out.