Back in the late 5th century, King Arthur and the Knights would congregate among the famed table in Arthurian legends. This is not much different to today as seen when the nations unite; A lot of bickering, ideas, stand-offs, threats and pushing of authority. Hmmm…doesn’t seem much different when communicating with teenagers either.
Remembering the story of old, I had decided that it was a good idea for us parents to open our own Round Table. With a cleared round kitchen table, we brought in our teens and gave them a set of rules to abide to.
There is to be no words of disrespect to each other at the table.
Everyone will get a turn to speak.
Any ideas or new way of doing things must be hand written and presented.
Anything shared at table and the table only will not be punished for it.
Agreements made at table – Write down and sign by all parties.
There will be no yelling, cursing, bashing towards one another.
You can disagree but should have reason for disagreement and have willingness to find or work on solution.
Proof of facts or evidence and mediator allowed (all parties must agree) if a compromise has not been reached.
You MUST tell your teen that their thoughts ARE valued and that you DO love them respect them
Thank them for their willingness to communicate at this table.
I have done this for the past 3 years and I have come to find out that it truly does work, BUT you must be willing to really listen to your teen and be willing to not just find a way to compromise but also to not let your anger rise up at the heat of the moment.There will be times in which you want to throw your hands across the table and strangle the kid. Joking aside, when they see that you are restraining your emotions, they will be more apt to open up and communicate more.
There will also be times that neither side can find a compromise. So I have taken the option of dropping that subject off of the table and bring it back at another time. Some things are not worth the battle and you have to pick and choose which are the most important. Remember, teens cannot think at the same level as an adult and what is so easy for us to see is at times more difficult for them to understand.
Teens choose their ideas, thoughts and battles by their emotions mostly. They have not yet understood or come to the age of comprehending certain issues that we as adults have. They are not at fault for this since their brain is still growing and they function only at the capacity of the now, not the future. However, this is a great place to start, at the Round Table, in which you will get to see and understand your teen at a whole new level like never before.
Lastly, as a Christian, we have always started off our Round Table and ended with prayer. It brings a sense of peace among the table before we start and keeps the family tied together afterwards.