Family Feuds

Why the conflict?

As you grow into an independent young adult, you may feel that you need less and less help from your parents. Many times this is true. Although you may feel that you can comfortably handle certain things on your own, it may be difficult for your parents to adjust to this change. The fundamental struggle is that the teen wants independence and the parents need to learn to trust their teens. Teens who make good decisions will earn more independence. It is a two way street.

Why your parents are important…

They may actually have some useful advice… they were teenagers once too. They had to figure out the parent-teen relationship just like you do. They know a lot about you and have been there with you every step of the way to this point in your life.

As a teen, you are naturally inclined to feel more comfortable talking to your peers rather than your parents.  This makes sense…your peers are closer in age and have shared experiences. As you begin to spend more and more time with your peers, you spend less time with your family.  This can be one of the reasons that your relationship with your family can seemed strained at times.  Since your parents are used to being involved in every aspect of your life, this change may be hard for them to accept. Your parents may feel like they are missing out on basic communication with you and what is going on in your life. The less you talk with them, the more they want to know what is going on in your life.

During your teen years you are more inclined to associate yourself with people you identify with and feel close to… namely your peers. Your focus may be more on your friends and peers now rather than on your family. More time spent with peers equals less time spent with family, siblings, and parents. The communication with your parents may lessen and this may put a strain on your relationship. Take a few minutes out of your busy schedule each day and check in with your parents. Tell them what is going on in your life and maybe ask them how their day was. Parents have stress in their lives too – who knows, maybe you can help each other get through stressful times.

It is always easier to talk to with someone that you identify with – someone like another teen who shares your experiences and daily challenges. They may give good advice, but they are figuring this stuff out just like you. Some advice may not be so helpful and that’s why you should check in with the adults that you know and trust to give sound advice.

Parents have to begin to see you as a changing person. This can be hard for them. They need to be willing to trust you to make good decisions. Your job is to prove to them that you will make good decisions.

How to talk to your parents.

There is no textbook or road map to teach us how to talk with our parents; each of us has to figure this out for ourselves. But, that doesn’t mean you are on an island. There are lots of people and resources to help you figure this out. As always, if you don’t know where to turn you can call on us.

The key to any challenging relationship is to be willing to really tell people how we feel and to listen to what they have to say. This is not always easy, especially with those we love the most. If you don’t talk and they don’t listen, things can get complicated. Taking the time to talk and listen is the key to preventing misunderstandings and having a healthy relationship.

We all have good days and bad. When we have a bad day, or are in a bad mood, we are more likely to take that out on those who we know will still love us at the end of the day. When some of us are upset, our emotions get the best of us and we say things that are hurtful. Sometimes it helps to take a second and think before we speak.

Siblings

As teens grow and mature, they also seek independence from their siblings. You may want more time to yourself and alone with your friends. That younger brother or sister who has always been at your side, may not understand why you might want to spend less time with them. Try to spend some quality time with them and then also let them know when you need more space.

Your siblings are the friends that have known you the longest. They will be there for you in the future. Try to remember that when you get upset with them.

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