A child’s character is forged by the principles and values they learn from home and at school. It goes without saying, parents and teachers play an important role in their mental and emotional development. When children are young, it is easy to direct their behavior, but as they enter into their teenage years, the changes in the child’s personal life make it more difficult.
Being a teenager is not easy. The time between adulthood and childhood is full of changes – both physical and emotional. With hormones raging, teenagers often find it difficult to be ‘social’. Temper tantrums, sulking, ignoring parents – all these are standard teenage behavior. Most teenagers feel that others ‘just don’t get it’. But we have all been there. We get it!
Equipping your teenager with the right set of life skills can help her manage these tumultuous years better. Conflict resolution skills are something all teenagers must learn. And you need to be the teacher.
Why Does Conflict Occur?
Conflict is part of life. No matter how much you want to protect your child from it, she has to face this reality. Conflict can occur within the family, with siblings and parents, with friends, and with society in general. But the one thing you need to teach your teenagers is that a conflict need not be a negative experience. Remember, conflict can lead to change, positive change!
Consequences Of Teenage Conflicts:
Without the necessary skill set, a teenager can land in tough situations when it comes to conflicts. At home, unresolved conflicts can lead to strained relations. Outside, it can lead to broken friendships, hours of detention, and even violence!
Teaching Conflict Resolution Skills For Teenagers:
As a parent, it is part of your job to help your child navigate life without too many hiccups. Start early and teach your teenager some easy ways to manage conflict. She may not thank you for it today, but you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done!
Teach your teenager the following conflict resolution ‘commandments’:
Conflict is a reality. There is no escaping the fact. Hiding won’t solve anything.
You can’t wish the problem away. Don’t pretend and put on a mask. Keeping your feelings cooped inside won’t work.
Learn to deal with the problem, not the person. Conflict occurs because of a particular issue, not because of a person. Don’t make it personal.
Be respectful. Listen to the other person. Really listen. Listening to your parents or teachers may seem like a drag but zoning out is not the solution.
Be assertive. You don’t need to be either passive or aggressive to deal with teen conflicts. You need to be assertive. Being assertive means putting your views forward confidently and calmly.
Learn to negotiate. This is the most important skill you need to learn. Negotiating is a skill that will serve you in the long term.
Stick to the present. Don’t drag in past issues. Doing so will only muddy the conflict further.
The silent treatment does not work. Sulking is as bad as getting aggressive – it won’t solve the problem. Talk it out.
Be understanding. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoe. Don’t get defensive and analyze the situation.
Learn to say sorry. Stand in front of the mirror and practice, if the need be! If you are wrong, accept it. Doing so will not make you a wimp. Only a strong person has the strength to say ‘sorry’. This simple word can work like magic, try it!
These commandments are skills that will help your teenager not just deal with conflicts, but with life in general. But teenagers are stubborn. When you find yourself losing patience, take a deep breath. Remember, you too were a teenager once.
It is important to start early. Teaching conflict resolution to teenagers before adolescence turns them into rebels. And you as a parent need to be there for them. Be present, be aware of what is going on in their life – but do so with respect for their privacy. The raging hormones will subside. Just make sure they don’t leave a lasting mark on your teenager’s life!
How did you deal with conflict resolution among teenagers? How are you teaching your teenager conflict resolution skills? Tell us your tried conflict resolution skills for teens in the comments section below.
Photo courtesy: Wheelchairs Against Guns