There's no bond that compares to a parent's relationship with their children. As we know, parenting isn’t all fun and games. There are times when you and your teen will disagree. And those disagreements can lead to arguments, hurt feelings and an emotional divide.
I wanted to get teens' perspectives on ways parents can handle arguments differently. So that feelings stay intact and relationships stay healthy. I spoke with Julian, a 15 y.o. sophomore, and Salma, a 15 y.o. freshman.
The biggest misconception about teen-parent arguments is that arguments don’t have a lasting impact after they’re over. And that isn’t the case. Julian said, "I know some of my friends that have gotten in confrontations, physical confrontations because of it. I know some of my friends who have broken down because of it. I know some of my friends who have run away because of it.”
After chatting with these teens, I learned that most teens shut down and they don’t listen to their parents. Why? Because they don’t feel heard. They don’t feel respected. And they don’t feel validated.
From the teens' perspective, you parents should maintain your focus during a talk with you teen, which will help curb arguments. According to Julian, “Parents should do more of, sticking to the problem. What is happening in the argument. Why you are talking to your child. Or, why you are talking to your teen.”
In other words, when you, as the parent, focus on the issues then it’s easier to see when the discussion is getting heated and you can put out the fire.
An “aha” moment for most parents will be learning that being right isn’t always right. Salma believes that "being wrong sometimes isn’t going to make you less powerful. Isn’t going to make you not be the parent anymore.” Salma went on to tell me that when parents put aside their pride then your teen might respect you more for actually listening to what they have to say, understanding them as people and understanding how they feel.
Now, that’s a powerful message.