Bridging the Gap: Resolve Conflict with your teen

by | Jan 23, 2023 | Family life, Relationships | 0 comments

Conflict is an undeniable part of any relationship, and when it comes to parents and young adults, it can be particularly trying. I’ve seen this dynamic play out in my own life, reminding me of the classic “generation gap” we all encounter.

As a teenager, I vividly remember thinking so differently from my parents. I believed I knew it all, convinced that their perspectives were outdated and out of touch. Little did I know that my journey as a parent would eventually lead me to a profound understanding of why they thought the way they did.

Now, as a parent myself, I often find myself on the other side of the equation. I’m faced with young adults who are growing tall and navigating that challenging phase where they think they have life figured out, yet they’re still among the most vulnerable and ignorant in many aspects.

In these moments, I’ve learned that it’s essential to set my ego and anger aside. When I’ve been able to do so, I’ve opened up valuable channels of communication with these young adults.

One particular incident stands out in my memory. What began as a seemingly innocuous conversation quickly escalated into a heated argument. I found myself caught up in the moment, unable to see how things were spiraling out of control. In my passion, I had unintentionally regressed into a childlike state, and it felt like I had lost all credibility and influence.

In a desperate attempt to regain control of the situation, I paused and asked myself where this argument was truly heading. It turned out the argument revolved around a task that was supposed to be completed the previous day. Sound familiar? We parents often believe we’re in charge, but when we lose control of our emotions, we lose the argument and our desired outcomes.

Recognising the need to step back, I took a deep breath and composed myself. Instead of continuing to argue, I inquired calmly about why the task hadn’t been completed. It was then that the unexpected happened—the tension dissipated, and the young person explained that they had lost track of time while spending time with friends.

It was a moment of revelation for both of us. As I spoke openly about the importance of the task, they realised that I was coming from a place of concern, not mere authority. It became evident that the words we use and how we convey our messages can make all the difference in resolving conflicts with young adults.

This experience reinforced the importance of empathy, open communication, and understanding in bridging the generational gap. It’s a journey of growth for both parents and young adults, where we can learn from one another and build stronger, more harmonious relationships.

Indeed, that pivotal moment marked a significant leap in my understanding of the young adult I was dealing with. From that point onward, our relationship took a positive turn. Mutual respect, which had momentarily wavered, was fully revived.

The absence of issues that followed wasn’t merely a stroke of luck. It was a testament to the power of communication, empathy, and a willingness to see things from each other’s perspectives. By acknowledging their feelings and concerns, I had created an atmosphere of trust and understanding.

We continued to navigate the complexities of the parent-young adult relationship with renewed respect for each other’s viewpoints. It was a reminder that conflicts can lead to growth and stronger bonds when approached with patience, empathy, and an open heart.

As parents, it’s crucial to understand the challenges young adults face in the modern world. They’re navigating a complex landscape of social pressures, academic expectations, and personal aspirations. Often, they are striving to assert their independence while still relying on the guidance and support of their parents.

In such a context, it’s easy for misunderstandings and conflicts to arise. But it’s precisely in these moments of tension that the opportunity for growth and strengthening relationships emerges.

Here are some additional insights on how to bridge the gap and navigate conflicts with young adults:

Active Listening: The art of active listening is vital in any relationship. Encourage open communication by genuinely listening to what your young adult has to say. Show that you value their opinions, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them. This not only promotes understanding but also makes them feel heard and respected.

Empower Decision-Making: As young adults, they need the space to make decisions, even if those decisions lead to mistakes. Encourage them to take responsibility for their choices and help them learn from both successes and failures. By doing so, you’re fostering independence and self-confidence.

Set Boundaries: While allowing independence, it’s essential to set reasonable boundaries. These boundaries provide structure and safety, making it clear what is expected while respecting their need for autonomy.

Stay Informed: Keep yourself informed about the challenges and pressures young adults face in today’s world. This will enable you to offer guidance and support that’s relevant and informed. Your empathy and understanding of their unique struggles will go a long way.

Mutual Problem-Solving: Approach conflicts as opportunities to solve problems together. Encourage them to take an active role in finding solutions, which empowers them and reinforces the idea that you’re a team.

Apologise and Forgive: Both parents and young adults make mistakes. Be willing to apologise when necessary and forgive. Modelling these behaviours can teach valuable life lessons about humility and the importance of mending relationships.

Seek Professional Help: If conflicts persist and become overwhelming, consider seeking the assistance of a coach, mentor or a counsellor. They can provide guidance and strategies for improving communication and resolving conflicts.

Remember, bridging the gap with young adults is an ongoing process. It requires patience, understanding, and a commitment to maintaining a healthy relationship. Each step you take toward better communication and empathy brings you closer to a more harmonious connection with your young adult, strengthening your bond for years to come.

Conflict is a natural part of the parent-young adult relationship. However, how these conflicts are handled can make all the difference in building stronger, more harmonious relationships. By actively listening, empowering decision-making, setting boundaries, staying informed, engaging in mutual problem-solving, apologising and forgiving when necessary, and seeking professional help when needed, parents can bridge the generation gap and foster healthier connections with their young adults. The journey is ongoing, but the rewards of improved communication, empathy, and understanding are well worth the effort.

To learn more download my FREE Conflict Resolution Guide

Book a Free 15 min discovery call today and resolve your conflict with your teen.

Hi, I’m Kanika

I support parents, educators, professionals, business owners, home makers and young adults to Reinvent, Rediscover & Redefine your life so that, you take actionable steps using proven strategies and tools to succeed and become the best you can be in your role. Learn through my masterclasses or 1:1 personalised support.

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