Think About This
When you first became a family, you likely thought that you would never have a fight.
You would be a perfect couple.
Your son would discipline himself, and your daughter would, well, never sin because she’s your daughter.
How’s that going? Hasn’t really turned out that way, has it?
The sad reality is that every family fights. As much as we don’t like it, we do. Most of us realize fighting is destructive and likely unChristian, but we don’t know what to do about it.
And the stakes are high. Families, break up or break down as a result.
So what do you do about fighting?
Well, if you’re going to fight, just fight differently. There are actually two ways for a family to fight.
•You can fight with each other.
•Or you can fight for each other.
These two small words—for and with—represent a world of difference in how you fight.
Most of us have only ever had someone fight with us.
If someone fights with you, it’s a zero sum game. They need to win and you need to lose or you need to win in order for them to lose. The people who fight care more about themselves than anyone. Both eventually walk away feeling diminished.
Contrast that with fighting for someone. When you fight for someone: You’re fighting for them so you want to see them better off. The fight is happening because you want to see them win, not because you want to win. You care more about their interests than you do about yours. Both walk away replenished—with the relationship stronger in the short and long term. Even if the other person doesn’t respond well, you have done everything in your power to help them, not hurt them.
Fighting for your family means you want their best interests to prevail, not yours. It means that when there’s conflict, the conflict is about moving through an issue so that person is better off, not so you feel right or vindicated. And finally it means that everyone leaves better than before the fight, rather than depleted. Relationships are stronger and the issues got dealt with in a way that actually helped your family move forward.
From How To Have A Family Fight by Carey Nieuwhof
Sometimes fighting for your student means choosing which battles matter most right now and which can be walked away from, even if it’s just for a little time. A heated argument, fueled with teenage sarcasm, can make any issue feel like a battle you must win—but that doesn’t mean it is. When you choose to fight for your student, to fight for something that really matters in their life and their future, they’ll be more likely to listen if they know you don’t fight with them over everything.
Think about the last month with your student. Write down the four areas where you experience the most conflict with them. Maybe it’s how they keep their room or how they drive the car. Maybe it’s how little time they spend at home or how much time they spend with friends.
Now, take a look at your list and think about which ones matter most—not only to their high school career, but also to their future and the future of your relationship with them.
If you could only choose to fight one or two of these battles with your student, which would one(s) would you pick?
Next time you feel the power struggle start to rise in your house, take a quick peek back at this list. Is a fight brewing over something that really matters? Then, choose to fight for them. If it isn’t, give yourself the permission to let this one go.