I hate conflict. I have teenagers. So conflict’s going to happen, and parent teenager conflict can be especially trying. I remember years ago having an argument with one of my teens. We had given her a curfew that was earlier than all of her friends’ curfews. She was going on about how unfair it was, and I decided a great way to break the tension would be to make fun of how dramatic she was being. You can see where this is going, right? I mockingly threw my head back and said something sarcastic. Not only was this unhelpful, but to her, it was actually hurtful.
Parent teenager conflict is inevitable, but doing it badly is not. There are some tools you and I need if we’re to navigate it well. And thankfully these are tools we all can access. Here are 5 tools for fighting well with your teen.
Often, it’s easy to unthinkingly disrespect our teens. My mockery of my daughter is a great example. I wasn’t intentionally disrespectful, but I certainly minimized her feelings and treated her as though she shouldn’t be taken seriously. Because our teens are young, they will often behave immaturely. However, the only way to gain respect from your teen is to offer respect first. You need to commit to taking her seriously even when she comes from a place of immaturity. That’s the only way you can have a dialogue that moves somewhere productive.