Arguments are a natural part of life. Growing up virtually requires an occasional fight or two. Testing boundaries is a way to discover one’s own identity; however, when these fights become a regular occurrence, there may be a problem. Even in the darkest of moments, there are several tips to keep in mind when resolving conflicts with your teen. Although the experience is rarely pleasant, there is good that can be had through maintaining healthy habits even during fights. An argument can be an opportunity for your child to learn. With the right guidance, resolving conflicts with your teen can have a positive effect on your child’s long-term well-being.
There are multiple approaches to resolving conflicts with your teen. Scientists identify the four major styles with which teens respond to fights – “attacking, withdrawing, complying, and problem solving”. The first two styles – escalating conflicts or avoiding them altogether – have the highest chance of becoming “depressed, anxious, or delinquent”. Surprisingly, though, while it may seem like compliance is the desired result, in reality simply yielding to the parents’ wishes is just as dangerous: children who follow this path suffer high rates of mood disorders and are often unable to stand their ground once they reach adulthood.
Resolving Conflicts with Your Teen through Problem Solving
The fourth approach – problem solving – typically helps children maintain the best mental health and build the strongest relationships. As a parent, it may seem counterintuitive to encourage your child to see both sides of an issue (and even acknowledge that your child’s point-of-view has a right to exist), but, at the heart of the issue lies the fact that your child is slowly but surely becoming and individual. Simply submitting them to your will only builds resentment.
A strong relationship hinges on your child being able to see all sides of an argument – and be calm when explaining their own position. It can be hard to avoid fighting in the moment, but stepping back from an argument in order to help guide your teen toward solving the problem rather than perpetuating the fight is crucial to resolving conflicts with your teen. Although some tension may be unavoidable, with the right approach benefit can be derived even from the worst of situations.
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