Working through conflict with your teen, in a productive way
Conflict in every family is inevitable at any given time. As your children grow older, they are discovering for themselves the purpose, meaning and reason for life. Your teens are trying to figure out what they value, where they belong and who they want to become.
Being a teen is a confusing and hard time.
We’ve all been there. Conflict will arise between you and your teen on different circumstances with their academic life, their social life and their faith.
The one thing you can do about conflict is to prepare for it. It’s going to happen, might as well figure out how to best work through the conflicts.
If you can talk to your teen in a way that is productive, efficient and loving at the same time, your communication between each other can improve.
These tools of communication are merely a way to help structure how you deal with conflict with your teen. There are different ways to work conflict out and every situation is different. Find what works best for both of you.
Here are 6 ways to talk through conflict with your teen.
1. Start right.
How you start the conversation matters because it has the power to dictate how the rest of the conversation will go. Start a conversation with a soft, loving and respectful voice as this will often help the talk be more productive. As a parent, you are in charge but it’s important for your teen to know that they have a say.
2. Let your teen talk first.
When you let your teen voice their side first, they can be more receptive to hear yours afterwards. Let them speak their mind and just listen. They may be more likely to truly listen to what you have to say.
3. Just listen.
When they are talking, it can be very tempting to react to a part of what they say. This is the most crucial point – just listen and truly listen. Don’t prepare what you’re going to say next or react to every comment. Be still, see where they are coming from and try to put yourself in their shoes.
4. Explain what you want and why.
The only way your teen will understand what you want is by you simply telling them and making it clear for the reasons why. This helps your teen understand where you are coming from. For example: “I understand you want to go out and hang out with your friends till late. But you have been out late several nights this week. You are having a hard time getting up for a school, it’s not good for you. So, it’s important for you to stay home tonight.”
5. Fight fair.
Remain calm and collected through the conversation even when your teen reacts with yelling and anger. Do not reciprocate their anger or yelling. Continuously respond with a gentle and loving tone, it makes it harder for them to stay upset. Also, avoid the word “always” or “never” and don’t compare your teen with anyone.
6. Time out when necessary.
When things get too heated, it’s okay to call for a break. Take 5 minutes to get water, go to the bathroom and just cool down. If talking still fails, write a letter. Sit down, collect your thoughts and just write. They can write one back to you and respond rather than feeling like they have to defend themselves.
Talking Through Conflict with Your Teen Shows Your Love
Talking through conflict with your teen is a beautiful sign of your love for them. As a parent, it’s not a goal to fight and ‘be right’. It’s important to ensure both voices are heard and respected. In the end, you and your teen can come to a compromise or agreement without the whole fighting charade.
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