About Raising Kids in Puberty and Organizational Change (Part 5)

A team is as strong as its weakest link!

As you may know, I have been writing about the relationship between organizational change and kids in puberty. With 25 years of experience in the field of change, I have noticed that both organizational change and kids in puberty are very erratic. Both Change project participants and Kids in Puberty continuously move and seek the limits of what is allowed and what is not. You as a leader (or parent) are therefore continuously challenged to set the limits of what is permissible and what is not.

Pushing boundaries

This process of always pushing boundaries is sometimes tiresome, because you often do not know how to deal with certain situations. Suddenly you are forced to make decisions and are challenged, without even having determined for yourself what you think or what to do. You are always testing options. Does this fit within our standards and values or not? Would I have chosen for a particular option if I had more time to think about it?

The process of being continuously challenged at home is very tiresome. At home I noticed that what we agreed upon did not happen, actually, it is often not taken seriously. That’s why I wrote a letter to my daughter. You could use this letter with slight adjustments – one-to-one – in organizational change situations. Simply copy, e-mail or mail this letter to everyone who continuously shows deviant behavior (and always change the name!).

Letter to my daughter

“Dear ………,

We are a family or team of only 4 people who all need each other very much. Everyone in their own way. Everyone based on his / her own strengths. We make agreements as a team. And we all keep those agreements because we want to belong to that team. Therefore, you have to make sacrifices, even if it is not always fun to make such sacrifices.

If you stick to the agreements made, the result is e.g, that you could pass your final exams, even while this initially did not look like it. But because the team made sacrifices and supported you, you succeeded. If you stick to the agreements made, other members of the team can also benefit. An example would be that you babysit your sister, so that mom and dad could go to the movies. Or, that you take your sister to swimming lessons, without your parents having to ask it all the time.

If you do not keep the agreements, then so be it, and you will enjoy the often short term advantage. For example: It is so nice that you do not come home at 11.00 PM as agreed, but at 00.00 PM or often at 01.00! When you then first drink and eat something and subsequently watch some TV to unwind, it suddenly becomes 02.00 AM before you go to bed. Often too tired to take a shower. You satisfied, we worried.

If everyone contributes pro rata with small household jobs and by adhering to what has been agreed (even if you do not always like it), then we’ll get there and the team thrives. In such case we see that everyone appreciates living together and everyone wants to contribute, without the agreements made, constantly having to be enforced.

If you get stuck, you can solve it yourself. But sometimes you have to step over your own pride and say, “Could you please help me, I’m stuck”. Or another question might be: “How do you we organize our agenda this weekend, so I can adapt!” This is a clear and workable way of communication. But stubbornly going you own way, makes it worse and no one gets along with it. It works poorly for the whole group.

The recent past (read, this year, last year and the year before) showed that agreements made are not kept. If we want to live in harmony together in this team, this household, we will have to deal with each other in a different way. That is why I intend to make it easy for you. I think that you as a young adult are perfectly capable of making a choice from the 2 following clear options:

1. I appreciate the fact that I live at home and that a lot is still being done for me. That is why, in return, I shall do little household jobs, run small errands and occasionally do the shopping and clean my room. I basically ensure that I adhere to the agreements made with the team.

Or,

2. I just do not like the constant hassle with my parents and sister, and the fact that I constantly have to take their interest into consideration. I want to be able to do my own thing and define my own rules. I am old and wise enough to do so. As a result, I will go and live on my own, and make my own plans.

Let me know which of the two options suits you best, so we can take the necessary steps. Just note that a room to rent is not so easily found these days, and you will also have to arrange for your study finances. Oh, by the way, can you do the cooking together with your sister tonight? Your parents would really appreciate that “.