How to fight with your child
“Don’t you dare with me!” Does this sound familiar? Is parenting your teenager a daunting task that is characterized by drama? Parenting teenagers has never been easy; you feel overwhelmed, angry and frustrated at times. It is also a very interesting stage where the teenager is striving to be an individual, figuring things out on his/her own. This is a developmental stage where as a parent you feel they are pulling away from you and defying you in the process.
They identify more with their peers at this stage and they want independence and also want to be autonomous. Things like curfew time could be easily disregarded and there might lots of fights at home. You find yourself screaming at your child also using threatening and intimidating words. Ever heard of the words “
Parent –child conflict is bound to happen; the difference is how you fight with your child as a parent.
Enjoy your teenager, find humour in the fight and learn to move on. We create our own children; if we raise them with anger, they will be angry parents one day. If we embrace them with their imperfections, love them regardless we will raise emotionally healthy children. Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege, than the raising of the next generation.” Charles Everett Koop
Positive parenting behaviours are those that nurture the development of children’s core abilities. Rather than focusing on kids’ weaknesses and deficits, positive parenting involves emphasis on building a child’s strengths and resilience. Child discipline does not equal to yelling and name calling.
Learn to manage your anger as a parent no matter how justifiable you think it is. If you are too angry; walk away and address issues with your teenager when you are calm. Do not give double or confusing messages; say what you mean and mean what you say. Be consistent and practice tough love if you have to. Teach the child to take accountability and do not emotionally blackmail him or her. Do not play a victim; you are parent in the relationship; be assertive.
As you learn how to fight with your child; reflect on these questions
Good communication between parents and children is the foundation of strong family relationships. Developing good communication skills helps parents catch problems early, support positive behaviour, and stay aware of what is happening in their children’s lives.
Encouragement is key to building confidence and a strong sense of self. Consistent encouragement helps children feel good about themselves and give them confidence to: try new activities, develop new friendships, explore their creativity, and tackle difficult tasks. It also helps parents promote cooperation and reduce conflict.
Negotiating solutions offers parents a way to work together to solve problems; make changes; promote and improve cooperation; and teach children how to focus on solutions rather than problems, think through possible outcomes of behaviour, and develop communication skills.
4. Are you able to calmly set limits when your teenager is defiant or disrespectful? Are you able to set limits on more serious problem behaviour such as drug use, if or when it occurs? Do you monitor your teenager to assure that he or she does not spend too much unsupervised time with peers?
Setting limits help parents teach self-control and responsibility, show caring, and provide safe boundaries. It also provides youth with guidelines and teaches them that following rules is important for their success in life.
Do you monitor your teenager to assure that he or she does not spend too much unsupervised time with peers?
Childhood is a period of major growth and change. Youth tend to be uncertain about themselves and how they “fit in,” and at times they can feel overwhelmed by a need to please and impress their friends. These feelings can leave children open to peer pressure. Knowing your child’s friends and peers helps parents improve communication, reduce conflict, and teach responsibility.
As parents we can learn from one another and encourage one another when we feel overwhelmed. You can start a positive parenting group where you are and learn best practices from one another. Positive parenting is key in raising emotionally balanced children. Be a parent today that you want your children to remember tomorrow. Joys of parenthood.
1. Dishion TJ, Nelson SE, Kavanagh K. The family check-up with high-risk adolescents: Preventing early-onset substance use by parent monitoring. Behav Ther.2003;34(4):553-571.
2. Dishion TJ, Kavanagh K, Schneiger A, Nelson S, Kaufman NK. Preventing early adolescent substance use: a family-centered strategy for the public middle school. Prev Sci.2002;3(3):191-201.
This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy. This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.