Relationships — everything you know you learn in your family. It matters what parents model; it matters what children see. Children learn through observing their family’s sense of right / wrong, ethics, what is good / bad and permissible. Children either repeat what they see or do the opposite. I tell my students, “in a few years you will leave your family and begin a home of your own where you make the rules.”
One of the most fascinating books I ever read (Hellhound On His Trail — The Stalking of Martin Luther King Jr. and the international hunt for his assassin by Hampton Sides) was a study of two men — One was from a family with a 100 year history of Godly Ministers, strong loving families and leadership, the other from a family with a 100 year history of crime, dysfunction, poverty of mind and spirit. Families tend to repeat their history unless something and / or someone breaks the cycle.
I remind them that now is the time they should look at their family (middle school — 3 generations / high school — 3 to 4 generations in 6 specific areas). They need to start by looking for patterns, and behaviors; and then determine what has been good for the family, what they agree with and what they want to continue (because it has been good for them etc.). They need to begin to identify what was / is hurtful and turn away from those things. If there is anger / frustration they feel for a parent, they need to deal with it (with counseling) before they begin their own family. If they do not work through their issues, they will drag the anger / frustration into their adult relationships / families.
If you hope to successfully marry someday, people need to address unresolved childhood issues. The number #1 childhood issue is: “I have issues with Dad or Mom or both of my parents.” Other issues can include:
A person tends to create an inner voice that says: “I’m mad, I haven’t forgotten and I’m not going to forgive, I had a rotten childhood, you are to blame.” They tend to play this memory / dialogue over and over in their head.
So what does that have to do with future adult relationships (girlfriend / boyfriend, fiancée / husband / wife)? Everything!!
Let’s look at a couple: When you get married / live together here is what happens. Here is the guy – let’s call him ED; and here is the girl – let’s call her JANE.
Jane is now in Dad’s place if that is now the person Ed is still angry with.
Jane gets nailed every time something triggers Ed’s frustration / anger and she has NO idea why Ed is so upset.
Meanwhile, Ed does not know why Jane does not shape up.
Jane is never going to win. She will never know why Ed over reacts / explodes, and he does not understand it either, but he is going to keep shoveling his anger in her direction until she breaks / leaves etc.
This is called misdirected anger. He / she is still mad at his / her (take your pick) MOM or DAD. His / her significant other for some reason is best suited to trigger all of his / her childhood wounds.
Andy Stanley explains this far better than I in Part 4 of his 4 part series New Rules of Love, Sex and Dating. You can watch the series or just part 4 for free online at: http://northpoint.org/messages/the-new-rules-for-love-sex-and-dating
The series consists of:
#1 — The Right Person Myth
#2 — Gentlemen’s Club
#3 — Designer Sex
#4 — If I Were You
I recommend this series to anyone with teenagers. Fathers particularly like this series.
Andy Stanley gives specific directions on how to handle this situation.
CALL TO ACTION!!
How are you able to get your students to recognize family history matters?
After your Students begin to see that family history matters, how can you assist them in developing plans that will keep them from repeating poor history and improve on positive experiences?
You might enjoy the Free Genogram (Family Tree) Lesson on TPT — Click on the button below:
You can also look at our blog article on the Family Tree — click on the button below: