Counseling to End Power Struggles for Parents of Teens

Is your son or daughter pushing boundaries too far, breaking rules, and refusing to follow directives? Are they exhibiting anger? Refusing to complete choirs and other responsibilities? Are they lying to you?  Is it getting difficult to trust them? Is it impacting your relationship with your partner? Any of these problems can lead to additional stress for all members of the family and make communication very difficult. Parents and kids can learn to bridge the communication gap and reestablish limits and boundaries that lead to harmony. 

Nobody wins in the game of power struggles

Many parents experience power struggles with their teen that can escalate to anger and yelling that parents and kids later regret.  Power struggles are indicative of the family system’s struggle to keep up with the pace of change.  Family relationships become strained at a time when parents most want to connect and make a difference with their kids. They are often left to wonder “What went wrong?” 

Power struggles happen for a reason

Frequent or severe power struggles, initiated by teens, can stem from a multitude of stressors and sources and generally indicate high levels of stress within the family system. The behavior reveals that a teen is struggling to cope with the stressors, no matter the source.  

Common sources of teen stress include social and academic pressures, strained relationships with peers or family, and difficulty adjusting to developmental transitions that occur both inside and outside the home. Every kid reacts to stress differently.

Sometimes power struggles result from a difficulty in communicating adequately. Teens are discovering their personal power for the first time, and often struggle with how to effectively use assertiveness to communicate their needs, resolve conflict amicably, and make good choices. 

Teens are experts in pressing your buttons and testing limits. When teens don’t get what they want or what they believe they have earned, they become frustrated and goat parents into power struggles. Parents often lose their cool (who wouldn’t?) and react to their kid’s frustration, causing a cycle of arguing and blaming.  

Power struggles can be transformed into healthy and helpful communication

Imagine being able to sit down with your child and calmly communicate about problems and behaviors without raising defenses. Imagine having genuine conversations that lead to increased trust and understanding of each other’s perspectives.  Imagine feeling respected again. All of this is possible with some key parenting adjustments and age appropriate interventions.  

Oppositional behavior is almost always the result of a cause-effect relationship, meaning it is quite possible to identify the cause or stressor and then make changes to restore calm and helpful behaviors.  In such situations, it is most helpful to seek a professional and objective perspective from a therapist who has the experience and skills needed to identify complex family dynamics and find solutions that work for the whole family.

Get the help you need

I have helped hundreds of families to communicate better and end power struggles. I partner with parents to restore a sense of trust and harmony within the family. As both a Marriage and Family Therapist and Professional Clinical Counselor, I am uniquely skilled at identifying sources of systemic problems and helping to create lasting positive change.  

My most valued skill is in helping all members of the family to identify their contribution to stress and conflict, while simultaneously lifting the burden of blame and shame. The result is that each family member feels respected and empowered to make changes with the best interest of the entire family at heart.  

I provide counseling and education to pre-teens, teens, and parents on how to successfully navigate adolescence and nurture open, honest, and loving family relationships. Since 2006, parents have turned to me to help improve their child’s behavior, mood, focus, peer relationships, self-esteem, and motivation.