How to handle arguments with your teen

Published
mom and teen daughter facing each other, laughing

Adolescence brings with it a whirlwind of unstable emotions.

While teens suddenly find themselves intellectually capable of having real “grown-up” conversations, they also find themselves unable to handle the unexpected wave of emotions associated with conflict.

Conflict is inevitable. It’s a healthy and natural part of life and avoiding it can lead to even bigger problems than arguing with your teenager. If teens are taught to avoid conflict, they can become withdrawn, depressed, and angry.

Approach life with the attitude that conflicts are going to arise and be prepared to deal with them in a mature way when they do. This is the healthy attitude that will nurture good relationships for your teen.

The teen years are practice for the rest of your life and what better people to practice with than the people you know best: your family. If you have more than one teen in your household, you may also encounter sibling fighting and the dreaded sibling rivalry!

two teens eating lollipops and happy

Once you accept that these struggles are normal and begin to embrace them as opportunities for growth for the both of you, there will no longer be “arguments” in your home. There will be challenges and obstacles.

Many people think of the teen as immature in their thinking and treat them as such. Blowing your top just because your teen wants to stay out late escalates the problem for the both of you. Your initial response to your teen’s sometimes outrageous thinking on matters should be to talk reasonably.

Try to see things from their point of view and if possible come up with a compromise together that keeps your moral values in place and allows them the independence and freedom they are searching for.

They are human beings, too, and even if they disrespect you, don’t disrespect them. If rules are broken, allow the natural consequences of actions to do the work or hand out the appropriate consequences. Whatever you do, don’t feed into the drama. Your teen is looking for a balance of boundaries and freedom and you’re there to guide them in their search.

If you see that an issue is serious and that your teen feels strongly about it, it’s best to take a breather and come back to the conversation when the both of you are calm and more level-headed. In thirty minutes, approach the subject again with an attitude of authority, respect, and a listening ear.

Teens hate to feel attacked and they need to know that you are on their side even if you completely disagree.

In the end, let them know that you love them and that what they are feeling is normal. These are some of the best years of your lives together. You are training them for life, and they, in turn, are helping you to grow every day, too.

What a special bond!

By Christine Carlisle

Christine is a freelance senior writer for Home Health Living and has been writing for us for 4 years. She's a health copywriter with over 10 years experience as a writer. Christine lives alone in a cabin in Maine and was once a hand model while living in New York City. She's a dog person.