Many parents, upon close examination of their values, often as a result of a values "collision" with their child, decide not to make an issue out of their differences. Instead of setting out to change their child, they change themselves, in some instances by simply accepting the differences that exist (i.e., lowering their line) or by actually modifying their own values, sometimes even by adopting the child's values.
As part of the process for considering modifying yourself (or not to), there are three important questions to ask yourself.
1. What is My Value? Look below any behaviors and identify the belief that is your real value.
2. Where Did It Come From? Did I get it from my parents, church, friends or just pick it somewhere along the way without much thought?
3. Why Do I Want To Keep It? How has behaving and acting on this value helped or enriched my life? What experiences and observations have I had that support this as being an important value that I want to keep?
The answers to these questions may lead you to modify your own behaviors and even change a value. Or, you may reaffirm a value once you have clarified it and the answers to these questions become the "facts" that you can use as a consultant with your child.
Perhaps the ultimate question that parents should ask themselves before deciding to push for change in a conflict-of-values with their child is this: How important is that my child be like me and that I be like him? Or, can we be very different, unique people who can still love each other and value our relationship.*
*Excerpt from Dr. Gordon's P.E.T. Participant Workbook