Tips for dealing with conflict aftermath

Be ready.

Think about how your teen will react and how you will manage your own feelings. Sometimes we know how our teen will react but we forget to check up on our own feelings.

Once I brought up the subject of money and spending it wisely and  my daughter announced that I was a  ‘loser’ because she couldn’t have what she wanted.

( anon)

Now this is a very common accusation from a young person but nevertheless the mother in question  was deeply offended. If she had thought through her daughter’s possible reactions in advance she could have told herself that she had done her best to provide for her family and always made that known to her.

If we show our teens that we are badly effected by their reactions to negotiations, they may very well start lying to you or going behind your back in order to avoid conflict.  If you want an open and honest relationship where you and your child can talk about tough topics, you need to be ready to manage your own feelings and reactions when you hear something you don’t like.

The Aftermath 

  • Despite your best efforts at negotiating,  your teen might still feel really disappointed. They may need time to calm down, so don’t expect instant co-operation.  Try to go with it if you can.

  • Help your teen to calm down by showing you understand. Give space for any venting that needs to happen. 

  • Check later whether your child would like your help to deal with the situation,

  •  Try not to take it personally if he wants to handle it himself.

  • Look after yourself – talking to someone you trust  can help you feel better about the situation.

Handling anger in conflict management

As part of conflict management with teenagers, you might need to be ready to deal with anger from your child.

It might help to know that

  • Teenagers are still learning how to express feelings and views.
  • Teenagers are also learning how to handle strong feelings.
  • They sometimes feel they need to express her views very strongly for them to be heard.

     So if your child gets angry or uses an angry tone with you, it can help to:

  • stay calm

  • let your child know you’re listening

  • show your child that you care about his thoughts and feelings

  • try to stick to the issue you’re in conflict about, rather than getting onto past events or other issues.

  • take a break to let things calm down, if none of the above are working. This is not a cop out. It is better for you both to come back later when things are calmer.

After you’ve heard what your child has to say and you have shown understanding….

  • take your time to express your feelings, thoughts and wishes as best you can

  • keep it simple and short – this can encourage your child to listen

  • try to negotiate a decision that you can both live with, or at least try to be clear about why you can’t agree.

  • If your teen is angry at you about something you did that hurt her, show that you understand how it affected her.  Everyone appreciates having their feelings validated.

  • Say you’re sorry, and then try to assure her that you will do your best to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again.

    Look After yourself

If you find yourself overwhelmed by what is said or reacting angrily, take some time out on your own and try to pin down what caused those emotions. Talk them through with a good friend or write your feelings down. Be honest about what caused the negative emotions to come out but don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Honesty is good but making yourself feel guilty is not. You may want to read the article here on false guilt. ( use ‘search box’ above).

Please note that whereas conflict is good for us, violence is not. We will be discussing how to deal with violence in another blog later.

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MASH  welcomes comments from anyone who wishes to share their opinions or experiences. Simply type your thoughts in the box below.

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