25 Mar Avoiding Arguments with a Teenager
Arguing with a teenager is not fun. Over the years they have learned arguing techniques that are hurtful and harsh, often filled with sarcasm and blame. Inevitably, arguing with a teen makes the entire household feel as though it is rapidly spinning out of control and that somehow someone came and replaced your loving and typically respectful child with this demon-like replica.
Locking into conflicting arguments with teenagers isn’t very constructive. By the time they are responding to a purely emotional level they have lost the ability to be reasoned with and form logical solutions to the problem. While there is no family that is argument free, it is best to try to avoid excessive arguing with your teen in order to remain in some form of open communicative state with them.
Teenagers are most likely to argue when they feel the rules are too stringent and they are being given credit for growing up. Most of the time they are right. We don’t given them credit for being grown ups because they are not grown ups. They are still children living in a very grown up environment. And not matter how good your kid turned out to be, every child is bound to find at least a little bit of trouble when there is no parent enforcing rules to stop them.
Listening to your teenager doesn’t mean agreeing with them all the time or allowing them to talk you into letting them have their way. It is necessary to remind them that simply because you are saying no or not changing your mind isn’t the same as not listening. Allowing them free expression of their thoughts and feelings is a good thing, provided that it is done so in a respectful manner.
Compromise is a good quality to introduce to your teenager on a daily basis. Somehow they seem to forget this notion after a good night’s sleep. Compromising to avoid an argument is not really teaching them the value in it, but compromising to allow them to grow has a great deal of value.
Despite the fact that they want you to recognize they are all grown up and you still notice they have some of the same facial expressions they had when they were two, there is a happy medium lurking in there for everyone. Teenagers do need to learn to navigate their world, and that is a scary proposition to any parent. However, complete restriction on life will churn out an adult who is incapable of understanding the world and the dangers around them. Nobody wants to pick their drunk fifteen year old up from a party. Yet nobody wants their twenty one year old getting drunk for the first time believing that there’s no one to call. Life is out there, and it’s going to touch them.
Compromising on safety is not an option. Compromising on responsibility is an option. This should be thoroughly explained when the compromising segment of communication begins. Sending your little Tommy off for an unsupervised weekend with Johnny, a known drug user isn’t a compromise that is worthy of discussion. You may as well hand little Tommy a crack pipe. However extending his curfew by an hour over holiday break is something that perhaps can be considered. If you’re nervous, require check ins by phone and know who he is with. These compromises show him that you are giving him more responsibility as he ages without allowing him to fly off the handle completely.
Talking when your teenager is under control and calm about situations can help avoid a lot of argumentative situations. Ask him what he would do if he were the parent and develop reasonable conversation from there. This can help circumvent issues as they come up over time and lead to constructive problem resolution rather than blatant arguing.
If your teenager is experiencing an anger related issue that has changed his overall behavior and dramatically increased the arguing in the household, chances are he is reacting to a situation and he hasn’t properly expressed himself or resolved the situation. Whether the incident in question happened in the household or elsewhere, making numerous attempts to get him to open up may or may not be effective, but it is certainly worth the effort. If anger and arguing is taking over his life then it is time to seek professional help.
There is a distinct difference between normal teenage resentment of authority and regulation and acute anger that is indicative of depression. Consult with a professional the instant you are unsure of what type of anger you are witnessing. Girls are more likely to express their anger in creative yet often manipulative ways while boys are more likely to become aggressive. Either way, search out the appropriate help at the appropriate time if anger is controlling your teenager’s life and becoming destructive to his environment.