How to Handle Common Conflicts With Your Growing Kids
- Courtesy of Plume
"When I was a teenager, it felt like my parents and I got in the same fights over and over again," says Vanessa Van Petten, author of the new book Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I'm Grounded? and founder of RadicalParenting.com. Here, the Gen Y expert and motivational speaker gives her advice for getting through the most common teen/parent spats. —Glo
The "It's Not Fair" Fight
The Situation: Teen is told that she cannot get a new outfit for the dance because it is too expensive. Teen finds this grossly unfair.
What's Really Going On: When you hear a teen talk about how unfair something is, she is often saying, "I am not important or special enough." If your teenager is constantly arguing about justice or fairness, then she is most likely feeling like she is not being heard or cared about enough to get what she wants. Of course, this is usually not the case. In the example above, parents would be worried money while the teen feels like her parents don't understand how important the dance is to her.
How To Solve It: The best way to stop the "it's not fair" fight is for parents to push into the "it's not fair" feeling from their child instead of pushing against it. Using the new outfit example, parents might say to their teen, "I hear that you think this is unfair—will you tell me why?" A teen will most likely respond, "You buy stuff for yourself all the time," or, "I deserve this dress." These answers are important because they show the parent the emotional intent behind the feelings of injustice.
A parent can addresses these by saying something like, "I could see how you feel like us not buying this for you is about you not feeling worthy. But the truth is we are trying to save for the big vacation we are taking this summer—which is for all of us. I know how important this dance is for you. Maybe we can get you a new pair of shoes or an accessory."