It is said family relationships are the hardest relationships we will encounter in our lifetime. For the most part, we do not get to decide who will be our family. So, trying to remove ourselves from toxic family members does not come with ease, it comes with tension and potentially straining relationships with other family members. Even then, it is nearly impossible for those who are yet adults (unless there is a dire and dangerous situation). However, if you are a teen that is struggling with your family dynamics, it is necessary that you voice your feelings and concerns. With the assistance of a third-party mediator and a support group in teen rehab in Los Angeles, you can work toward resolving the family conflict you’re dealing with, as well as work through your personal issues that may be contributing to the conflict.
Teen Rehab in Los Angeles: Tips to Resolve Conflict
- Do not take it personally
More often than not, a person who criticizes others, speaks maliciously to people, judges people and situations, condescends to others, and blames people for everything are projecting their own insecurities on whomever they interact with. They may be set off by a topic that triggers them or they may be going through their own issues but they do not have much or any control over their feelings. With family therapy, you and your family members can learn to recognize your feelings as they come up, express them, and as a recipient, hear them out without reacting quickly with your own feelings. In time, all of you will become better communicators and will decrease the reactive attacks toward each other.
- Respect boundaries
Everyone is entitled to establishing their own healthy boundaries to protect their wellbeing. There are many topics that are triggering and re-traumatizing to people so it is best to navigate them with caution and care. For example, you may have dealt with an eating disorder, hard breakup, loss of a family member, or shocking accident and may not want to openly discuss it or be reminded of it at any given time. You can establish the boundary to not engage in a topic unless you bring it up in therapy together. If a family member refuses to respect the boundary or exerts control tactics of fear, your therapist can provide you with tools to manage this situation.
- Express yourself, and let others express themselves
It may feel awkward at first, but expressing yourself can clear up a lot of miscommunication, misinterpretations, and prevent conflict. If your family is not one to have intimate and vulnerable conversations, you can begin the process of expressing yourselves in therapy. A mental health professional can assist you and your family in asking the questions that need to be asked in order to understand one another’s point of view and feelings. Some questions that may show up are “why do you feel judged when I ____?”, “What upsets you about my ___?”. Or they can be statements like “I feel upset when you ___”, “I don’t like when you ___”. It is best to be direct and honest so as to better the relationships. Your therapist will help you sharpen your skills to be a more effective communicator, learn to listen and remain neutral, all while managing the urge to be defensive.
- You cannot change a person
As frustrating or heartbreaking as it may be to experience someone hurting you or themselves, disappointing you, disrespecting you and others, we do not have control over the actions of others. We must lose our expectations and accept that we only have control over how we react to the world around us as well as how we choose to emotionally digest what comes our way. We can choose to help others along their journey of becoming better people within boundaries. For example, if you notice a change in behavior such as your family members conveying themselves more or becoming aware of words or actions that trigger you, it is helpful to acknowledge their efforts and share gratitude for it. Or if your family member has shown up to therapy sessions, being present and attentive, you may want to do a thoughtful gesture for them like write them a letter, make them their favorite treat, or enjoy a day together at a nostalgic place. If you would like more ideas or to talk to a professional, you can reach out to us at (888) 295-9995.