Sample Pages of Relief
Striving for unity
C H A P T E R 16
Tower of Strength 6--the guard's tower: We are
developing a united front.
There is a great need for a united front.
Nothing will stretch you further, hurt you deeper, give you greater failure feelings, and cause you to feel more insecure in peacetime America than having problems with your teenager. That is why you must send out the cry for help and develop a united front for saving your teenager, your family, and yourself. The united front should ideally include both parents or a single parent plus select relatives, select friends, a counselor, a support group of parents who have gone through the same problems and, in some cases, legal authorities. (I'll cover those outside the family who can help you develop a united front in the chapters on the allies of the family fortress.)
Parents must develop a united front because having problems with children is just about as serious as anything can be. What's the difference between parents knowing that their nineteen-year-old son is being held hostage in a foreign country and parents trying to free their fifteen-year-old son from the tyranny of the wrong crowd and rebellious behavior? The latter is harder.
In a sense, it can be worse for the parents engaged in hand-to-hand combat trying to save their teenagers from local terrorists. Not only are their children being held captive, but the parents are stricken with...
overwhelming grief, and
despair over not knowing what to do.
Another ingredient that goes into this dreadful concoction of emotional distress is the parents' paranoia over their other children who are being placed in jeopardy. Brothers and sisters can be influenced to do the same fun-looking but deadly things. Or they can take the offender's side against their parents. Or they can be publicly humiliated as they live under the shadow of their sibling's decaying reputation. Or any number of other things can go wrong.
Other topics in this chapter include...
The enemies are untouchable.
A united front in a two-parent home is Dad and Mom standing together.
How can single parents present a united front?
What kinds of misbehaviors have single parents been trying to deal with?
What's a single parent to do?
(Eight vital suggestions are provided.)
Be careful of the games some parents play that destroy a united front.