Hot Topics     Home and Family     Teen Health    

Handling conflicts with your teen isn’t always easy



Problem-solving versus letting off steam, which is your approach?

teens, parents, conflict, resolution

No matter how much parents try to avoid and defuse conflict with their kids, arguments sometimes happen. The good news writes parenting coach Maggie Macaulay is that those battles can end up making teens and parents closer and can also teach kids skills they will apply in the outside world.

Have your rules changed during the pandemic? Up until now bedtimes became haphazard. Now with schooling coming closer, how do you change the rules mid-stream?

READ MORE: Laughter still the best medicine

Here are her tips for handling conflict with your teenager.

1. Take a problem-solving approach. This is not a win or lose situation. Frame the conflict as an effort to solve a problem together, enabling both you and your teen to look beyond the immediate disagreement. Studies show that teens who learn to address conflict as a problem to be solved, rather than a battle to be won or lost, tend to be happier later in life and have better relationships.

2. Make space. Take a breather before responding. Between your teen's provocation and your first response, there's a space that you can enlarge and inhabit. Use the time to get yourself centered, calm, and directed toward that problem-solving effort. If you allow the space to be too small, you are more likely to be reactive and tense, determined to win or else hastening to cave in to opposition. If you're in a rush to respond, you lose an opportunity to create understanding and open up to solutions.

3. Be humble enough to backtrack. Rethink the issue to see if you created the right solution. We all make mistakes. As a human being, there's a chance you'll fail to enlarge that initial space and will react in the heat of the moment. Catch yourself quickly, admit your fault, and apologize. Then restart the discussion from the beginning. If both you and your teen grow heated, don't give up. Ask for a timeout to calm down, and then try again.

It takes persistence, patience, and willingness to look at a variety of options to find a solution. But by practicing these skills, you'll maintain a healthy parent-child relationship, and your teen will learn and grow.



Other articles by HVP News Reporters


  • 5 tips to help families manage holiday stress

    The holiday season can make everyone feel a little overwhelmed

    ’Tis the season for holiday parties, travel, hosting and more. While it is a joyous time of year, the never-ending to-do lists and school being out of session can make everyone feel a little overwhelmed, children included. read more »
  • A foil packet meal for sweet fall simplicity

    Delicious and easy dinner with sweet potatoes

    Fall provides almost endless opportunities to gather friends and family around great food. From tailgates and family events to those precious last outdoor meals before winter sets in, the scenery of autumn is a perfect backdrop for sharing meals together. read more »
  • 5 steps for better meal prep

    Eat healthier and save time

    Eating healthier and saving time around the house are common goals for many families, and there’s one solution that can help attain both: meal-prepping. By planning and preparing meals in advance of each week, you can practice better portion control while creating free time for normally hectic mornings, afternoons and evenings. read more »
  • How to keep pets happy and healthy this holiday season

    7 tips to help you spot potential hazards for your furbaby

    The holiday season means fun and festivities for all, but getting wrapped up in all the excitement and celebrations can lead to forgetting about safety and precautions, especially for pets. read more »
  • Thanksgiving traditions and memory-making meals

    2 mouth-watering recipes everyone will love

    Starting with parades and ending with family meals, Thanksgiving provides all-day opportunities for celebrating life’s special moments with those nearest and dearest to your heart. read more »
  • How to protect your home and valuables this holiday travel season

    Protect your assets when you hit the road

    Whether you’re visiting your in-laws or taking a tropical vacation over the holidays, you’ll likely be leaving your house and the majority of your belongings unattended while you’re gone. Recent research suggests that if you’re like many Americans, you may not be doing enough to protect your assets when you hit the road. read more »
  • Webinar on nicotine and stress

    From NYS Smoker's Quitline

    Panel of national and state experts elucidates the "vicious cycle" as a result of regularly using tobacco and vape products read more »
  • Elevate a family-favorite side dish to a flavorful, protein-packed meal

    Turn an easy, everyday side dish into a full-blown dinner

    Taking the stress out of family meals at home can be as simple as turning your attention toward recipes that pack plenty of flavor without complicated prep. In fact, you can even turn an easy, everyday side dish into a full-blown dinner by simply adding your favorite protein. read more »
  • Put a plant-based twist on holiday baking

    Try these delectable holiday desserts

    Flavorful desserts are a staple of the holidays and the exciting, appetizing allure of new recipes can help elevate seasonal gatherings and create sweet memories. With near-endless options for celebrating the season, putting a plant-based twist on traditional recipes offers everyone the opportunity to indulge with decadent treats. read more »
  • Understanding GMOs

    Info from the FDA

    Many consumers are curious to learn more about GMOs. A GMO (genetically modified organism) is a plant, animal or microorganism that has had its genetic material (DNA) changed using technology that generally involves the transfer of specific DNA from one organism to another. read more »