Conflict Between Parents and Teens (page 2)
You may be the parent, but it's hard to win when you argue with your child. Especially as he becomes a teenager, he will simply think of an answer for everything you have to say. Here's what you should do instead.
What You Need to Know
Conflict between you and your child is normal as he becomes more independent, questions your rules, and spends more time with peers. To keep these normal conflicts from becoming severe, find ways now of effectively managing these disagreements.
How You Can Help
Rather than engaging in arguments with your child, you should:
- Let your child know that you've heard and understood his point.
- Transition from his valid ideas to your valid instructions with words like “regardless” or “nevertheless.”
- Not give in, or you'll teach your child that arguing with you works to his benefit.
- Learn to say, “I know you don't like it, but the answer is no,” explain why, and leave it at that: “I'm not going to argue.”
- Stay away from labeling your child negatively (lazy, selfish, immature, irresponsible).
- Stop the behavior before things get worse (e.g. turn down a loud stereo yourself after issuing the first warning).
- Calmly remove a privilege (e.g. remove the stereo from the room if the volume again reaches the inappropriate level just discussed).
Consider using a point system so that kids earn privileges and rewards for good behaviors, which works better than punishment for bad behavior:
- Decide on two of three specific problem-causing behaviors (e.g. avoiding homework, incomplete chores, talking back).
- Make a chart labeled with the weekdays across the top and the positive versions of each behavior down the side (e.g. completing homework right after school, completing chores right after dinner, listening and following instructions respectfully).
- Decide with your child what privileges or rewards he might look forward to, which he can earn points toward each day target behaviors are fulfilled.
- Decide how many points are earned for each – behaviors that are hard to change get more points then easier ones.
- Some outside offenses, such as swearing or lying, may lose points.
- Decide how many points will earn a reward or privilege. Aim for 75-85% of the total possible, bearing in mind that no one is perfect.
- Keep track of the points each day and give rewards each week, all without lecturing or arguing.
- After a problem improves, take it off the list, and add another.
For more on this topic, please see the full article:
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