Stop Fighting With Your Teen
Slammed doors and screeching arguments can be facts of life with a teen in your household. Here, how to defuse the fireworks.
Rule 3: Don't Escalate the Drama continued...
Many kids will signal that they're ready to reconnect by emerging from their rooms to get something to eat from the kitchen or grab a magazine. Take that opportunity to say something like, "Are you OK? Want to go out and get some ice cream? Or can I have a hug?"
And while you're waiting for that to happen, remind yourself that fighting - provided it's done right - is a good thing. "People who are good at solving conflicts are better leaders, parents, and partners," says Falcone. "And by fighting fairly with our kids, we're preserving - and even enhancing - the most powerful parenting tool we have at our disposal: our relationship with them."
Avoid These Triggers
Fighting fair means steering clear of tactics that act like a match to gasoline. Here, advice from our experts:
- Stick to one issue at a time. Avoid the "kitchen sink" arguments that start with one thing and end up encompassing your kid's every transgression over the past two years.
- Nix "forever" words: "You always throw your towels on the bathroom floor"; "You never listen to me when I talk to you."
- Avoid comparisons like "Your brother never had any trouble getting home on time."
- Skip these proven kid-enraging phrases:
- "End of conversation."
- "When I was your age..."
- "Just do it, OK?"
- "Here we go again with this."
- "I cannot believe you just said that."
- "My mother would have slapped me in the face if I'd talked to her that way."
- "I've had it with you."
Originally published on September 27, 2010
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