A Question of Identity

Thor god of thunderRelationship friction is as common as relationships. There is just no way to keep everything smooth all the time. Whether you interact with your partner, your boss, your colleagues, your kids or (ahem) your parents, there is bound to be some points when things feel a bit rough, faces turn redder, voices become sharper and all involved wonder what went wrong.

This happens very often between parents and teenagers. Considering what you are about to read, this is not too surprising, actually.

You see, every conversation we have takes place in the words we say, in the feelings we feel and in how we relate facts and feelings to the way we see ourselves. We all have a sense of identity and sometimes, when we feel our identity is being threatened, we go to “battle stations”, batten down the hatches and defend ourselves with all our might.

The teenage years are all about forming our independent identity, which means our identity is still very new and fragile and every possible comment could have a shattering effect on it and then what?

Luckily, there are just 3 common self-beliefs that can be threatened and if we avoid them, much of the friction in our communication with others, particularly with teens, can be eliminated. In fact, we can do a lot of good as parents, partners and friends by saying and doing things to strengthen others’ positive beliefs about who they are.

The best way to experience what others may be going through when you talk to them is to look at it from the receiving end. This will also allow you to deal better with potential threats to your identity that would result in your retaliatory action against others. Relationships, after all, are as much about us as they are about them.

Read more about how to communicate better


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