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There will be many occasions in life when parents do not agree with their teenager's actions or opinions. It is part of the roller coaster ride of raising teenagers. Many parents feel as though their opinion is the only one that matters. There are ways that parents can speak honestly and effectively with their teens so that it doesn't turn into a yelling match.
Explain Your Expectations
Parents can handle arguments easier if they set expectations when their tween becomes a teenager. If teenagers know what is expected of them from the very beginning, they will have an easier time accepting the rules of the home. For example, tell your teenager that you expect them to do a set of chores every week and do their homework every night before any fun time. Teenagers that have no structure and then are thrown into it at a later age have a much harder time adjusting and this will only cause arguments to happen.
Let Them Talk
Teenagers feel as though they already know how life works and they will try to claim their independence in the world in a variety of ways. It's part of growing up and many teenagers feel so lost in such a big world that they push for their independence at an even faster rate. When you feel that you are about to run into a disagreement with your son or daughter, let them talk first and let them say everything they need to say before you add your two cents. Teenagers need to be heard and they want their opinions validated by being actively listened to by their parents. Let them speak without interrupting, and then you can voice your thoughts.
Set Boundaries on Arguments
Many arguments involve voices being raised. Avoid yelling by talking to your teenager about how to have a fair argument beforehand. Yelling and screaming at each other only makes the situation even more stressful and it can result in hurtful things being said. Make sure you explain the boundaries of household arguments before they occur.
For example, when you feel you and your teenager are about the clash over something and it might become argumentative, sit down and ask to speak with them calmly and directly. Let them explain their views without yelling, and then voice yours when they are finished. Do not interrupt. Everyone in the argument should get a turn to speak and express his or her feelings regardless of who is right and who is wrong. Tell them that physical violence or causing damage to anyone or anything is never acceptable during an argument.
The Cool Off Period
When arguments do happen, take time to cool off. After everything has been shared and emotions are running high, tell your teenager to take some time to get some air and make sure you take time away from the situation as well. Chances are, both of you will do a lot of thinking, which may offer a chance for agreement and solution down the road.
How do you handle arguments with your teenagers? We would love to hear!