Does it have to be one or the other?
I saw a quote on an app for managing kids screen time today “Rules-Relationship=Rebellion, Relationship-Rules=Chaos.” The first part of the quote is from evangelical leader and author, Josh McDowell, and rest must be the wisdom of the crowd! Whether you agree with this statement or not, it raises a good question. Does it have to be one or the other? Is family life a constant struggle between relationship and rules, a battle of rebellion vs. chaos? I certainly know it can feel that way!
I would argue that the words rules and relationship aren’t quite right, the issues at heart here are authority and connection. Authority is your ability to make and enforce rules and responsibilities. Connection is the way that we build strong relationships. Most of the time when families come to see me they are struggling with one of these two issues. Either their connection to their kids is strong but they have given up too much of their authority and everyone feels pretty out of control, or conversely they have strong authority (and plenty of rules) but struggle to develop equally strong connection and relationships. A balanced parenting approach requires both: strong connections and clear authority. Not sure how to achieve this balance? Come talk to me, this is what the Different Paths approach is all about… and hopefully we will have some fun along the way.