The time between adulthood and childhood is full of changes – both physical and emotional. With hormones raging, teenagers often find it difficult to be ‘social’ people. Temper tantrums, sulking, ignoring parents – all these are standard teenage behavior. Most teenagers feel that others ‘just don’t get it’. Being a teenager is not easy.
But we have all been there. We get it!
Conflict is part of life. No matter how much your parents want to protect you from it, you have to face this reality. Conflicts can occur within the family, with siblings with parents, with friends, and with society in general.
Without the necessary skill set, a teenager can land in tough situations when it comes to conflicts. At home, unresolved conflicts can lead to strained relations. Outside, it can lead to broken friendships, drug addictions, gang activity, and even violence!
As parents, we can help our teens learn the skills to avoid or tame conflicts.
Conflicts are a reality. There is no escaping the fact. Hiding or sulking won’t solve anything. And you can’t simply “wish” a conflict away.
Here’s just a few tips I’d like to offer:
Learn to deal with the problem, not the person. Don’t attack your parents. Parents don’t attack your teen. Attack the problem. Be sincerely honest. If you feelings are hurt -say you are hurt. If you feel disrespected, say that you feel disrespected!
Learn the art of really listening. . Each side needs the chance to talk, without interruption. Try understanding. Try to see why they are feeling the way they feel. Where there emotional triggers that sparked the conflict?
Learn to stick to the present. Don’t bring past issues, Enough said.
Learn to talk it out. Stop using the silent treatment thinking it will resolve or dissolve the issue. Ranting and raving will not solve any problems either. Stay calm, focused and intent about your feelings. Do not resort to name calling, finger pointing or fault finding. Find the right time when your parent(s) are calm and not in a hurry to be somewhere, then ask for a few moments to talk.
Learn to apologize quickly. If you are responsible for any part of the conflict, apologize quickly. Sometimes the longer things drag out the worse they get. The issue will die a quicker death.
Learn to reach out for help. Find a good reliable friend (or a Christian Counselor) you can call for help. Someone who can listen and offer advice with no partiality or reserve.
Learn from mistakes. Set new rules, rights, or responsibilities in place that might help eliminate a future conflict. Talk about how the conflict can be avoided in the future.