The teens I talk with seem to have a fairly common complaint. They don’t understand why they have to argue with their parents on what seems like a constant basis. Of course parents wonder the same thing. Constant arguing between parents teens is no doubt aggravating for everyone involved. It most certainly does not make for a tranquil home and can even lead to doubts about love among family members.
The good news is that these perpetual arguments tend to diminish as teenagers get older. But what can be done in the meantime? Well, there are some ways to make arguing a little bit less of a disastrous event for both parents and their teenage children.
First and foremost, it’s essential to realize that listening is by far the most important part of any conversation, even arguments. This may seem obvious, but in order to listen, we need to stop talking and really focus on what the other person is saying. That means we need to listen intentionally and not just use our pause in speaking to assume what the other person is saying or to figure out what we are going to say next to win the argument. Allow each person involved in the argument to fully speak their mind; don’t cut them off. I know how frustrating it is when the other person doesn’t seem to understand your position. But, good listening skills can help us figure out what they’re not understanding or maybe misunderstanding about our argument.
Now, speaking of figuring out what to say next, it always helps when we explain, in simple terms, the reasons for our positions and make the case rationally and logically for our side of the story. And, by all means, try to stay calm. Nobody actually wins an argument by yelling louder than the other person or using the most foul language. If you’re a teen and want your parents to respect you as a young adult, then behave like a young adult when making your case or presenting your side of the argument. After all, no parent is going to take you seriously if you’re asking them for more freedom or responsibility while at the same time flailing around and screaming like a lunatic.
Another thing, stomping your feet, walking away, or slamming doors doesn’t help make any point other than you are immature and shouldn’t be taken seriously. Stick around, be patient and participate in the argument rationally until a solution has been worked out. By “worked out” I mean reaching a mutually agreeable solution. That might very well require a compromise on both sides. But, compromising is not so bad. At least you gain some ground that you didn’t have before. And, there’s a good chance that when your parents see that you can handle the little responsibility or freedom that you won in the compromise, they’re more likely to give you more the next time you ask for it. Be content with the little victories rather than adopting an all-or-nothing attitude. If you do so, you’ll find you win more often than you lose and your never ending arguments may take on a more pleasant tone if your parents don’t feel like you’re going to ask for a new Lamborghini each time you approach them for something.
This compromise thing can also works when your parents are asking you to do something like chores around the house. They understand you’re getting older and have other things to do in your life besides chores. But, in their mind, the chores have to get done regardless of your priorities. So, it’s a matter of how your respond to the chore thing that can make the difference between WWIII and a semi-nice outcome. For example, rather than simply ignoring or refusing their request, you might consider proposing a timeline for the completion of the chore(s) that works with your schedule and also satisfies your parents’ wish to get the chores get done. Try it. You might be surprised at how reasonable parents can be when you respond to them in a way that doesn’t make them feel like they’re asking you to cut your arms off and walk around without any clothes on.
Arguing with parents is almost impossible to avoid as a teenager. But how teens and parents participate in those arguments can make all the difference in the world. After all, out-of-control arguments don’t serve anyone’s best interest. Teens who remain calm, listen well, speak rationally, defend their points logically, and consider appropriate compromises will usually come out feeling pretty good about the situation.
So, the next time you sense an argument coming on with your parents, decide how mature you’re going to be and consider ahead of time what compromises you may be willing to make in order to achieve your goals. Who knows, you might avoid the argument all together.