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How stress at school can turn into a mother-son conflict

This is the case history of the teenager Thomas and his mother Nadja. The conflict between the two erupted because of school and burdened the family life for a long time. Thomas didn't feel like going to school anymore and hardly had a chance to pass the school year before graduating from high school. He thought he "could do it without school." As in many families, "school" had become the number one hot-button issue between Thomas and his mother. It sparked endless discussions and arguments that often ended in door slamming, wild name-calling and tears.


Thomas' father was self-employed and his wife regularly helped him in his business. However, Nadja spent most of her time organizing the household and was primarily responsible for raising him. As hard as she tried, she was unable to motivate Thomas to engage in constructive learning behavior or even to graduate from school with a positive attitude. All her attempts failed.
At the same time, Thomas had increasingly frequent outbursts of rage, culminating in strong verbal abuse towards his mother. The repeated devaluations by her son and his verbal lapses gave Nadja a hard time. Her despair grew and her fear that her son would destroy his future by dropping out of school grew steadily. Finally, Nadja turned to Dr. Gundl Kutschera to get help for her burdened family life.


Pick up work order
Dr. Kutschera began the first coaching session together with mother and son. She asked Nadja about what her goals and her worries were. It was new for Thomas to experience his mother's distress directly and how much she actually worried about him. Nadja was surprised that Thomas agreed with her and admitted his wrongdoing. After all, she thought her words had only fallen on "deaf ears" so far."

It is always important to experience the issues in the presence of the child or teenager. By asking Thomas for his opinion, confirmation or addition, the first awareness and appreciation happened. Thomas confirmed his mother, "Yes, she is right." Thus, the common goal was clear and so was Thomas's mandate to work together, meaning he was quickly brought on board. This way often helps, especially when working with young people, to get a contract, because young people are usually not aware of their problems. The mother was then able to leave the room and Dr. Kutschera began her work with Thomas.


Model of the 5 roles as a basis for work
The initial situation was that Thomas and Nadja were "at war" with each other and could not live their roles of "son" and "mother" respectfully and appreciatively. They no longer had access to their love for each other. In the next step, Dr. Kutschera proceeded according to the 5-role model she developed: This model helps families to find and define new visions and role models for themselves. The necessity for this results from the disintegration of old values, rules and role models within relationships and families that have been predominantly patriarchal for centuries. For a long time now, men and women have felt the longing for relationships of equal value, for which, however, there are still hardly any role models and examples.

The 5-Roles-Model manages to meet this search and longing with structure and comprehensible procedures. If the following 5 roles are lived equally, couples, families or the people of a community have the feeling that their relationship is good:


The role

  • as an 'individual' - time and space for themselves,
  • as 'man/woman' - experience the butterflies in the stomach together again and again,
  • as 'mother/father' - clear loving guidance
  • as a 'child' - being open, creatively playful and curious together
  • in the 'environment' with relatives and friends.



Lead clearly by separating person and behavior
In Nadja's case - as in many conflicts between children and parents - the role "mother/father" was not lived and thus her "hierarchy role" was very weakened.
For many reasons, parents today find it difficult to take on their important leadership role and provide children with the guidance and safety framework they need.
Clear rules and sanctions in families,i.e., a relationship that also allows children to receive feedback and sanctions for their hurtful behavior, are rare. Instead, children and teens experience ambiguity, fear and weakness from their parents - most often expressed in nagging behavior.
As a result, the children and adolescents enter a destructive spiral and show their anger and frustration in insults and degrading behavior. In the process, love disappears more and more.


Why do so few parents take leadership?
Parents are afraid to say "no" because they are afraid that by doing so they will weaken their children's self-worth, just as they had experienced in their own childhood. Again and again, their parents nagged and signaled that they were "not okay". So their self-worth shrank more and more. Today, they want to do better with their children than they experienced themselves back then and "swallow" their annoying misbehavior.

Parents can only get out of this loop if they learn to separate "person" and "behavior" when dealing with their child. By repeatedly emphasizing "I love you, but this hurtful behavior is not lived in our family," parents learn to say "no" without diminishing the children's self-worth.
As the coaching continued, Nadja learned to take leadership as a mother and reclaimed her highest values of "love and respect." She conveyed to her son that he is always okay the way he is, but certain behaviors are not allowed and come with sanctions. This sounds very simple, but it is difficult and unfamiliar for parents. It should be genuine and coherent and come from the deepest conviction - otherwise only empty words will result.

In order to be able to authentically love and appreciate her son again, Nadja first had to reconcile many hurts. Thomas learned what respectful behavior is and the mother was able to stop her nagging behavior. From now on it was enough for her to emphasize: "You know yourself what respect and love is". Initially, the newness was unfamiliar to both of them. Thomas had to find new ways of behaving on his own and tried to push Nadja back into her old role, only to get upset with her again. Over time, however, he succeeded and the relationship improved.

In the new framework of respect and love, the roles of all members in the family could be redefined and the overall atmosphere improved. They played together in the evenings, had social meals, laughed a lot, and were happy to come home. The father supported the mother in her leadership behavior and came home from work earlier. The parents made more time for each other and had fun living out their roles as "husband/wife," including partner nights together. And Thomas managed to regain his motivation for learning and finish the school year on a positive note.

After successful completion of the family coaching, the mother began the Resonance® Practitioner training at the Kutschera Institute. She wanted to learn more for herself, her partnership and about the roles in the family. She wanted to accompany her son even more safely - and to further increase the quality of life in the family.


Vision for the global overcoming of generational conflicts
Regardless of cultural, social or religious background, the 5-role model offers all families the perspective to heal, shape and live their relationships in a healthy and loving way. The resonance that enters into such families means that despite different idiosyncrasies of the family members, a common, free and appreciative swinging together in everyday life is possible. For Dr. Kutschera, the transmission of this knowledge in all generations has a special, even peacemaking significance. Because the family is the nucleus of every society and if the families are doing well, society is doing well.

Published by Gundl Kutschera

Styria |

Vienna |