Conflict management for teens is a skill they will use for a lifetime. Teaching your teenager to resolve disputes and negotiate sensitive situations will serve him well throughout adulthood.
Conflict between teens and their parents is normal. When teenagers reach puberty, their lives and the lives of their parents can change drastically. A rebellious teen's actions can cause parents to feel that the sweet, adorable child they have loved since conception has disappeared before their eyes. And parents who respond to the emotional tension in an nonconstructive manner can degrade the relationship as well.
Growing up is not easy. A teen wants to become more autonomous, yet she still needs her parents. Pulling away from the safety of her parent's rules and regulations can be a scary and emotional experience. She needs to create her own self image; she is learning to be herself and to be separate from her parents. Hormonal changes make her more emotional, fighting her effort to become more like an adult.
A teenager must search for a clear understanding of who he is as an individual, which can clash with who others think he should be. There is so much pressure from parents, friends, society in general and the media. They all want to tell him what to do, what to wear, how to act and what his future goals should be. He does not want to disappoint anyone, but becomes frustrated and confused by all the advice and feels that he will explode if one more person pushes him. He is in conflict with the world.
Teens will push you to the limit as they become more independent. They will probably break curfews. They will either snap at you or grunt at you when you dare ask them how their day went. You will hopefully attempt to be understanding and allow their independence to grow, but when you tell them you must still set boundaries, they will find fault with your reasoning. They will show off their newfound ability of thinking in the abstract; they will poke holes in your logic and will feel free to tell you what exactly they do not like about you.
Some parents will realize that their teen needs more freedom and understanding, and the teen will possibly realize that the parent still deserves respect for their position of authority. This can lead to agreeable conflict management. Communication, honesty and the agreement that personal attacks are not allowed can help ease the tension. The family might make a pact that anything in the past stays there, and that everyone is going to be more willing to listen and will make an effort not to judge. Some families benefit from outside counseling to learn conflict resolution.
If your teen becomes physically aggressive with you, is using drugs or alcohol, is having serious problems in school or is participating in risky behavior, it may be time to seek outside help before things get worse. If you find yourself blowing up at your teenager or hitting him, counseling may help you get your relationship back on track.