9. Collusion: Many conflicts between parents and adolescent are maintained because the parents are in conflict between them. The conflict is usually the subject how to deal with the child. The mother often blames the father that he he’s too “hard”, and the father blames the mother she’s too soft, or vice versa. This creates tension between the parents, so when they are looking for a way to discipline the child, each one is standing behind the other and warns him not to act the way he wants to act. This “blows up” any attempt to find a solution that could be helpful for the child.
It’s usually not hard to convince the parents to agree that their targets for the child are fine and that one child controls two parents while they are attempting to impose their authority on him.
After they agree on this, the therapist is uniting them in “collusion” against the child and guides them how to control him. The collusion is planned in the clinic. The parents are guided to act so that every time the child powers over one of them, the other parent (parent witness) “compensates” the victim parent with a invitation to go to – coffee that evening (or any another plan). It is done in front of the child without any explanation but saying “we go together “.
What we do not explain to parents is that we help them deal with disputes between them in a way that unites their action toward the child. This way of action works against the usual roles they take one against another about the child’s behavior.