Jon Moton – Lead Pastor Student Ministries
Maybe you’ve thought it. Maybe you’ve said it. Maybe you’ve said it out loud. For those of us with teenage children, conflict is a common occurrence. How this conflict is managed is so important. If conflict is not managed constructively, families divide. Behavior and relationships erode.
Teens are struggling for their independence and often unwilling to assume the responsibility that accompanies it. They want to make their own rules yet have difficulty following rules set by their families – our teens want more freedom than what we give them. Result? Conflict.
The emotions of the parent and the emotions of the teenager are mutual. Both can feel frustration. Both can have pressure. Both experience disappointment. But it is how we deal with these emotions that make a difference. I know, I know. It is easier said than done.
So put the dangerous object down, and put on the gloves. Here are some suggestions:
- Communicate calmly – seek to understand and be understood. Again I know this is a hard one. As a parent of two teenage daughters I want them to understand what I am saying. I need to also seek to understand their rationale.
- Set boundaries – define what is acceptable and non acceptable. Yelling, screaming, and throwing stuff is probably the least effective way to communicate.
- Pray before you engage. We need God more than ever when it comes to addressing things that we can not control. Ask Him for direction, wisdom, and insight before you speak a word.