Why We Enter Into Power Struggles With our Teens

argue with your teen or tween


Are you arguing with your teen correctly?

Try this Next Time You’re Tempted to Argue with Your Teen

Isn’t it crazy trying to argue with a teen? Have you ever noticed that your teen is always right? That is, in their own opinion.

Albert Einstein wisely defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So why do we enter into power struggles with our teens? Maybe, why isn’t the right question to ask? Maybe the question is, what. What do we do when we are tempted to argue with our teen?

We know arguing doesn’t work. When was the last time one of our teenagers acquiesced saying, “Thanks mom, you’re right, I see it your way now.”? Uh, never!

Here are 3 Don’ts and 5 Do’s to remember the next time you are tempted to argue with your teen:

1. Don’t enter into the argument

It seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? Not so easy, but we can do it if we commit to making the decision not to argue. Instead, keep calm and carry on. This doesn’t mean we ignore them. We just don’t get hooked by them.

2. Don’t explain yourself

In many cases, your teen is going to see things differently than you. Part of their job as a teen is to develop their own sense of separate self from you. Part of this process is to beg to differ. So, we waste a lot of time and energy trying to get them to understand and see things our way. The truth is, they could care less. We won’t solve an argument by explaining—just saying.

3. Stop the lectures

I tend to seize every opportunity for a good teaching moment. I go on and on with all the reasons they should or shouldn’t do what I think they should or shouldn’t do. Mind you, teaching moments have their place when the timing is right and the timing is definitely not right in the middle of a disagreement. We will belly flop every time. And ouch, it hurts.

Here are 5 things to do the next time your teen disagrees with you:

 Stay cool and calm.

  1. Listen to them. Hear their side of things.
  2. Applaud them for sharing their opinions and arguing for their cause.
  3. Rather than explaining your reasoning, allow your teen to be unhappy, disappointed or angry with you.
  4. Remember, it is okay for them to be unhappy or angry with us!
  5. Remind yourself, they need to hear NO and face disappointment. The world often will not explain itself to them.

So, next time an argument begins to heat up, try this:

  • Stay calm
  • Explain yourself once

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