My boyfriend and son fight a lot could you help with this issue?

I have lived with my boyfriend for over 4 years and in the last year my son (15yr old) and him fight a lot. My fiancé is very loud. I feel like I am stuck in between both of them. My concern is that my son is pushing away from us. I would love for them to have a better relationship with each other.
Asked by Lita

Hi Lita, 

Thank you for writing this question here.  This is a very common issue, I'm sure.  About 50% of marriages end in divorce, and so it is very likely that kids will have to adjust to new parental dynamics.  In this case, your son is struggling adjusting to a new father figure right in the middle of his teenage years.  This is significant for many reasons.  First, the teen years are usually pretty emotional for most kids, as they are processing new and intense emotions, while lacking in impulse control.  The frontal lobe has not been developed yet, and won't be fully until adulthood around age 26.  But, until then, kids are driven by the pleasure senses of the brain, and lack that ability to reason and respond thoughtfully. 

I don't have enough information about your son's father, your living situation at home, and others in the home, but what we know about this time in development, is that kids need stability in the home.  As your son's brain is developing, the structure, rules, and expectations of knowing what to expect is very important at this time.  How consistent are you and your boyfriend in setting and communicating expectations for him?  Are you both on the same page about how to raise him, what the house rules are, and how to set boundaries with him?  The more consistent and united you two are, the better for your son, as his foundation of comfort grows.  

If his father is in the picture, and/or if he is also splitting custody and has him part of the time, are you co-parenting successfully?  In other words, are those rules similar as they are in your home?  The more consistent the two homes are for kids who's parents split custody, the better.  That means there needs to be some productive communication between you and his father as well.  There are a lot of factors involved in how the relationship between your boyfriend and your son grows.  

Another thing we know about teenagers, is that they want to feel heard and respected just as much as adults do.  With some help, you can all learn healthier ways of listening and validating each other's feelings, and bridging the gap that is growing between you.  I would recommend the book, "I Hear You" by Michael Sorenson.