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Teen-Parent Battle: The Parent’s Perspective

angrymumteenagerdaughterMy blog post from last week provided teens with points to keep in mind when in conflict with their parents. Some parents may have read this post and smiled with satisfaction that a twenty-something agreed with them. Teens’ hormones are all over the place; they are changing physically and emotionally. When conflicts are regularly occurring, it must be those hormones to blame! Or perhaps, your teen is trying to challenge your rules and prove they are an adult, and conflict continues to arise because of their persistence? Either way, the conflict fault line falls to your teen, right? I’m being facetious, but only for the sake of setting up this week’s post.

Parents have all the power in their relationship with their teen. When parents are arguing with their kid, taking advantage of the power imbalance can cause more damage than good. I should mention that I am not a parent. However, I have observed and listened to many teens rant about their parents and vice versa. Therefore, I have compiled a list of points and tips below that parents need to keep in mind when in conflict with their teens.

  • Be honest. Many teens complain that their parents treat them like children. Parents will sugarcoat and omit information because they want to protect their children. However, teenagers become resentful of these omissions and the sugar coating, they want honesty, they want communication. When my Great-Grandmother was passing away, my parents explained to me exactly what was happening. They gave me the choice to continue visiting her or to stop and remember her how she had been. When my parents were honest about what was going on and gave me the choice, I felt mature and responsible. Unfortunately, parents cannot protect their children for life. If you shelter your child too much then once they hit adulthood, they are naïve about the world, and the reality might be overly shocking.
  • Communicate your reasons. If you don’t want your child to go somewhere or wear something, communicate your reservations to your teen. When my parents would use, “Because I said so” as their reasoning for not letting me go to a party or out with friends, I thought they didn’t have a reason. I thought; they just didn’t want me to go. Perhaps, they felt it was too unsafe? Or they just wanted me to stay home for a night? Regardless, they wouldn’t communicate their true reasons to me. Parents, if you are honest and upfront about your hesitations, then maybe it would inspire your child to be truthful and upfront with you. There is an opportunity for a discussion where you and your teen can communicate reservations and build understanding from one another’s point of view.
  • Let mistakes happen. Let me be clear, I am not saying that if you see your child making a mistake that could seriously harm themselves or someone else, do nothing. However, for a child to learn and grow, they have to make mistakes. I imagine it’s hard to watch your kid slip-up, even when you believe you know what is best for them. But, by letting your child make mistakes they learn how to handle tough situations, make judgment calls, and take responsibility for their actions.
  • Trust your parenting. My mom was never one to coddle her children. She gave us independence and room to make mistakes. I once asked why that was? Many of my friend’s parents were over-protective. My mom said, “I cannot follow you around for the rest of your life. I know the values I taught you and I have to trust in my parenting.” Parents, have confidence in how you raised your children. The values you instilled in them are there, it may take a bit for your child to realize it, but they will!

It is important to remember, that for children to grow into well-rounded, mature adults, they need their parents to guide them. However, just because you’re the parent does not necessarily mean you are always right.


Abigail Clark M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management


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