Last week, I read a book by Kevin Lehman called Have a New Teenager by Friday.
I had previously read Have a New Kid by Friday, and found its suggestions to be helpful and effective, but somehow we fell off track *ahem* for a few *ahem* years.
I started trying out a few of the methods while I was still reading the book because I just couldn't wait. Normally, I wait to read an entire book before following a plan that it lays out, but this time, I just had to try it. Things have been a little out of hand at our house for awhile.
Well, to my amazement, it started working right away. The book presents a way to force the kids to work out their issues on their own - without dragging the parent into it. Seeing the way this has played out in our household over the past week or so has impressed my husband. He didn't read the book (I hope he will someday), but I've been coaching him through stressful interactions with our teen. He has been receptive (I'm impressed) and I feel like things have been just the tiniest bit more peaceful around here. Family relationships are getting nicer. The kids are harbouring less resentment. Today I saw two of them resolve a fight immediately, without dragging me into it, and they came up with a solution that was effective for both of them and went on their merry ways. Another fight between two others ended with them coming out of the room composing underarm fart sound music together, and laughing. I love this.
There are other solutions to other major issues in the book, but the kids fighting has been causing me frustration, anxiety, anger, and depression. When I and my hubby are out of the equation and the kids are working on their relationship on their own...well, it just brings such joy. I am proud, and I trust that this will build a strong foundation for their relationships as they head into adulthood. I hope that they always want to hang out together, share meals, watch their kids build strong cousinly bonds, and just enjoy the fact that they have each other and know they can count on each other no matter what.