Amicable exchange between the boundaries of parent and teenager
During the teenage years young adults go through huge changes both physically and emotionally. Depending on the stage of their brain development, teenagers are more inclined to act impulsively or get into confrontation and fights. It is normal that teenagers struggle to think before acting, consider the consequences of their actions and be aware of their behaviours. This can be a really tricky time for parents to navigate. As teens grow, existing boundaries will need to be reassessed. With more awareness of the outside world, teenagers will seek to push restrictions and explore new-found independence.
Regardless of the changes experienced by teens, they are still capable of making good decisions, understanding the difference between right and wrong and should hold responsibility for their actions. Being aware of transition allows parents to better anticipate, and manage the behaviour of adolescents.
Power struggles are commonplace in parent-teenager relations. Whether it’s over being allowed to go to a party, staying out later or how much revision is necessary. In the teenage years young adults are developing the ability to think and decide for themselves. They are learning to question their parents’ rules and opinions towards them. Although challenging it is important for parents to listen and empathise with their teenagers. Working together to problem solve will make the dynamic more harmonious, over one or the other party being dictated to.
It is normal for teens to want to challenge authority, whether at home or at school. This defiance can come across as rebellious to parents, and they are likely to react by trying to regain control over their child.
When this happens it’s important for the parent to understand that their teen isn’t necessarily meaning to cause conflict. But they are trying to express themselves, asserting their independence and exploring their new thinking possibilities and behaviours.
Why does out attitude as parents matter?
As parents we have the responsibility to examine our attitude towards teenage development and how this could be affecting out relationships. Without doubt this is a time of turbulence, but do you view it as a negative difficult phase or is it a positive opportunity for growth and development? If you can bring your way of thinking around to the latter option, this could help you view your relationship at this time in a more positive light. Which is more conducive to better outcomes.
If you can get your teen to even slightly try and think about how it might be being their parent in the present. They may get a glimmer of appreciation that this is a time of change for your parents right now too. If teens realise parents ultimately care and want the best for them – then you can both try and cooperate and lessen the need for battles.
Solution focused techniques to foster harmonious exchange between parents and teenager
- Diffuse the conflict early – avoid argumentative power struggles by not engaging in them. We can do this by the moment we feel a conversation escalating, not allowing it to become heated and out of control.
- Take three deep breaths or count to 10 in your head
- Have ‘ I can stay calm’ as a mantra in your mind
- Keep your voice and tone calm and collected
- Shouting never works, it can leave us feeling angry, exhausted and guilty
- Offer to your teen that you have listed to what they have said and that you will take some time to think about it
- Bring the conversation back up at another time.
- Create a positive outcome for both parties.
When you have both calmed down from a disagreement, think about
what you both want from the conversation.
- What are the adults’ non-negotiables or expectations?
- What is important to the parent and the teen?
- What could you compromise on?
- What rules can you both stick to both get what you want from your meeting in the middle?
- What are the consequences if they teen doesn’t
- Parents – Can you offer your teen a few options that suit them and you. Allowing them the choice mean they have had some autonomy over the decision making
- Negotiate as equals
- Allow the teen to vent their opinion, listened to them without interrupting
- Do not debate, argue, or endlessly repeat yourself
- Practice Patience and persistence
- Conflict between parents and teens are actually a sign of normal healthy development.
- Parents – if you can slow down, breathe and bring about mindfulness. Accept your responsibility to nurture the best in your children’s development. Your teen will benefit from this in developing mature skills for dealing with stress, conflict, and powerful emotions.
- Find a shared activity
- This may be a hard one. But if you can find a shared passion or interest between you this can bond parents and their teenagers. It may be taking a long walk, watching a film together or having a tasty meal. Making time to do things as a family will encourage positive communication and connection.