The Secret to Parenting Teens: Connecting through Conflict

The Secret to Parenting Teens: Connecting through Conflict

When conflict arises at home, what’s your approach … issue executive orders, take a collaborative approach, or hope it blows over?

Disagreements between parents and teenagers are going to happen. I get it.

My teens and I have differing opinions and contrasting priorities when it comes to … well, just about everything that involves:

  • privileges
  • homework
  • household chores

In the hustle and bustle of daily life it’s easy to get caught up in your routines, deadlines and appointments.

When your time and energy feel stretched to the limit, it’s tough to be mindful and reflect on the heart of the conflict. Instead, the tendency is a knee-jerk reaction where orders are grumbled or behavior is dismissed with a wave of a hand, and it’s off to the next task.

Rather than exploring the details of the situation and working toward a resolution, you find yourself turning to a quick fix – again!

Ignoring the essence of the issue, it will likely show up in other areas and disrupt the relationship with your daughter.

Your savvy teen is watching and taking notice of your verbal and non-verbal cues. Because your daughter is on the cusp of adulthood, now’s the time to tackle conflict and tough conversations.

A one-size-fits-all approach to communication isn’t realistic when you’re parenting a teenager. Taking an exploratory approach is more likely to set your conversation up for success. (Hint: an exploratory approach gives her permission to let her guard down!)

Two important elements come into play when you’re trying to establish effective communication with your teen.

  1. Your response. Let’s get curious about how you typically react to conflict when it arises. Which statement best applies to you:

    • I’m fairly patient and do my best to listen fully, without having to be right all the time.
    • I believe that we’re able to find common ground, but that seems to be more and more difficult.
    • I often feel triggered and react in a way that shuts down the conversation.

    Parents can be provoked by past pains. Identifying your own stories, building an awareness and taking responsibility for how they affect your reaction is crucial to conflict resolution. This will also help you connect with your daughter on a more authentic level.

  1. Your attentiveness. Whole body listening requires your full attention. How well are you able to:

    • Recognize your teen’s body language?
    • Listen without distractions?
    • Check-in with your internal barometer?

    Allowing yourself to be fully present will not only provide you with information about the conflict, but also how your daughter is processing the situation. Whole body listening may also allow you and your daughter to identify the core issue; or the heart of the matter.

If you are willing to offer your daughter sincere affirmation, trust and validation while you work through your conflict, you’ll establish a new connection.

I’ve yet to meet a parent who enjoys dealing with the conflict that accompanies raising a teenager. As you know, it’s part of the developmental process.

I encourage you to ask yourself, “is my approach to conflict bringing me the result and relationship I desire?”

Or, are you ready to try a new, more effective way to connect through conflict? Want some help with that? I’d love to talk you. Grab a free Discovery Session with me here.

Then fill out my questionnaire Discover: Is your teen daughter resilient enough for all of life’s adventures?

What additional suggestions do you have to help your family tackle tough conversations?


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Posted in: Parenting Tips