How to Handle Common Conflicts With Your Growing Kids
The "We Are Different People" Fight
The Situation: Parent wants their teen to join band. Teen doesn't want to.
What's Really Going On: Teenagers often tell me that they will purposefully keep their room dirty or choose unapproved hobbies just so they can be different from their parents. Parents frequently misinterpret a lack of cleaning or bad grades for laziness, when something deeper might be going on. Teenagers will "misbehave" or fight with parents simply to show them that they are their own person—even if it gets them into trouble.
How To Solve It: First, it's important to make sure that you do want your child to be his own person. Be careful not to push expectations or your own goals onto him. Second, make sure he knows that some of the requirements you have (good grades, a tidy room) are not to make him feel less like an individual but are for paving his future or for having a clean home when guests visit.
Overall, fighting can be stressful, but teenagers often tell us that "fighting" with their parents is their way of discussing issues. Look at fights as a way of getting to know a new aspect of your teen, and be open with him about wanting to understand where he is coming from.
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