Parenting Teens & Tweens: Do Not Engage!

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This is a topic that applies to parenting every age group. When it comes to conflict with your child, DO NOT ENGAGE IN AN ARGUMENT! You are the parent. You decide what does and does not happen in your household. If your child does not like what you are saying and starts arguing with you, do not respond with more arguing. You need to keep your emotions in check and stop the arguments before they happen.

So what’s a frustrated Mom to do? TAKE A TIME OUT. Take five minutes, an hour, or even a day until you can have a calm discussion about that topic.  Saying, “Let’s talk about this later when we’re both calm,” both stops the argument and shows your child that you are willing to listen, but not be yelled at. This can be very frustrating for the other person who wants to get their point across NOW, but it’s important to stop the fighting before it starts.

Respect the fact that emotions run high for teens.
Take a time out for everyone to calm down, then have your discussion.

Teach your teen/tween how to have a discussion without yelling. This is a skill that will help them throughout their life.  Fighting in your home is not only taking away from your ability to relax and enjoy your family, it is detrimental to your health.  The Mayo Clinic has a good article on the ways chronic stress puts your health at risk HERE.

When you’re both ready for a calm discussion, sit down, look each other in the eye, and take turns talking and listening until you  work it out. Sometimes your child just needs to be heard. Sometimes, you might need to go outside your comfort zone and let them have their way. Sometimes you will need to say that you’re the parent and things will be your way in your home and this is one of those times. You will know which one it is with better clarity if you are calm.

You have a chronic illness and already don’t feel well. The less arguing around you the better. The best thing for you is total peace and harmony. OK, let’s be more realistic. The best thing for you is to surround yourself with as much peace and harmony as possible. How can you do that with a teen/tween in the house? (it doesn’t have to be difficult)

Here are a few things to try:

  • Work on better communication (read the article on listening HERE)
  • Understand that your child has his/her own ideas and viewpoint. The older they are, the more different from yours they might be.
  • Sometimes people can have opposite ideas and can BOTH be right (and neither one is wrong)
  • Don’t have unspoken expectations of each other (article on that is HERE)
  • Catch your child doing things right. Watch for things to praise them for. (Older kids need this just as much as young ones)
  • Don’t belittle what they say just because they are not an adult. Statements like, “you’ll change your mind when you grow up,” or similar statements negate the value of anything they say, and put them on the defensive.
  • Be willing to listen, listen, listen. You might not always agree with their viewpoint, but they will be more willing to hear what you have to say if you listen to them as well.
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Having respectful discussions, even with opposing viewpoints, makes everyone feel better and allows for more open, honest communication.

In our home we do not always share the same viewpoint about everything. Sometimes we have very spirited discussions about things, especially things that we are passionate about, but we know when one of those discussions gets too intense that it’s time to take a break and either revisit it later, or just drop it all together. It gets easier with practice.

Your challenge today is to decide not to engage in arguments. Sit down with your teen/tween (or maybe even others who argue with you too) and talk about how you plan on handling conflicts of opinion in the future so that they know what’s coming. Please leave a comment below and let me know how it goes!

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