As your child becomes a teenager, it is common for them to develop strong opinions and ideas that conflict with yours.
Growing out of childhood comes with a desire to exercise independence while still learning about the world. When your teenager contemplates his place in the adult world, he may withdraw and become anxious. Distancing himself from childhood is common and may result in hostility when you attempt to check up on his welfare. Reminding your teenager to carry lunch money can actually be misconceived as an insult suggesting he’s not able to take care of himself.
Parent relationships are a vital part of your teenager’s growth, and this is not the time to step back from his life. While he is not the needy child she once was, he isn’t yet an adult, and the relationship you share will set an example for other adult relationships in his future.
When every conversation feels like a minefield, it’s time to look for new ways to communicate with your teen. These tips can help you to better understand how your teen is feeling when your only form of communication seems to be groans and eye-rolls.
Pick Your Battles
Not every point you disagree with is worth an argument. If you hate your teen’s new hairstyle or think his clothes are sloppy, you might choose to overlook them. Save your power for the decisions that affect his safety. If you remain agreeable about the small issues, your teen is more likely to listen about important choices. It is important to have interactions that don’t erupt into arguments.
It is difficult to keep your emotions under control while your child is angry and sarcastic. However, it is important for the conversation to stay calm. Listen to your teenager’s thoughts and feelings before giving a definitive answer.
Take time to understand your own feelings and communicate them to her. Explain the reasons why your choices protect her well-being and are prepared to negotiate. When you are willing to compromise, your teen will learn new ways to solve other conflicts.
Establish Communication Boundaries
It is normal for your teen to feel angry and disagree with your decisions, but violence is never an acceptable response. If your child makes threats, damages property, or hits, you must set boundaries. Do not engage in conflict when your teen acts violently. Let him know you will work out a solution when he has calmed down.
It is vital to keep your own temper under control to set an example for your teenager. If he sees you as a respectable role model, he will follow your actions.
Honesty is an Important Policy
To avoid conflict, your teen may sneak behind your back to do the things she wants. While lying may seem harmless to her, it is vital to her safety that you know where she is if something goes wrong. Practice honesty so your teen will understand how important it is to you.
Prepare for difficult conversations ahead of time so you can keep your emotions under control. If she knows she can talk to you without an outburst, she will be more likely to seek your advice. Your child needs to know she can depend on you if she faces serious trouble.
Create Realistic Consequences
Don’t set a punishment you aren’t prepared to follow through with. If you intend to ground your teen for two weeks, consider what that will mean for the rest of the family. Will you have to cancel plans with other children? You might be forced to cancel your own plans to supervise his behavior.
Don’t suggest ridiculous punishment that you both know is impossible. Telling your 16-year-old daughter that she cannot date until she is 35 will force broken rules. Your teen needs to be able to understand her true boundaries.
Conflict is a normal part of your child growing up. However, if the situation is constantly out of control, you might need additional help. If you are facing a situation you cannot resolve, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Beachside Teen Treatment Center offers a variety of programs to help your teenager work through common adolescent issues.