As parents of three teenage and young adult children my partner and I have naively believed we have got the parental consistency thing down. This misplaced belief was exposed to us recently when our eldest, during an argument, lobbed a skillfully grafted grenade into our midst. The gist of the munition came from my partner having enacted something with our eldest that they thought would be best kept unshared with me.
Now let me point out that it was nothing major and no lasting damage between us was caused as we could see it for what it was. It did however put me on my back foot and allow our eldest to say “How can you lecture me on honest communication when you two are in your fifties and lie to each other” or words to this effect…
In The Mandt System we teach a chapter on Building Healthy Communication and a chapter on Conflict Resolution Techniques. In these chapters we discuss the importance of honest and authentic communication and ‘Carefronting’ versus ‘confronting’ as written by David Ausberger in his book ‘Caring Enough to Confront’. The scenario with our eldest was a good exercise in realizing that even though we may be aware of conflict resolution tips and have undertaken de-escalation training we can still find issues relating to the underlying health of our general communication and relationships jumping to bite us as evidence of our inauthenticity.
So the important lesson that my partner and I have taken away from this is that we cannot afford to have scenarios occurring in which we set scenes with words like, “lets just keep this between you and I”, as a skilled child, teenager or young person will recognize that you have handed them the ammunition that they can use to build a grenade to be lobbed at the time and place or their choosing.
Simon Kemp – CEO