Conflict is something that many of us would prefer to avoid. Conflict is difficult to deal with, and we are taught to avoid it from an early age. Subtle phrases such as:
"Try to get along with others,"
"Don't be difficult," and
"Why are you always complaining"
contribute to overall conflict avoidance. However, conflict is a natural part of relationship development. When conflict is addressed appropriately, it can empower your teen's decision-making skills and help them to set boundaries with others.
Teaching Healthy Conflict Resolution Skills to Your Teenager is a Gift That Will Keep on Giving
Resolving conflict with friends and drama at school,
Disagreement with a teacher or other authority figure, and
Even conflict with siblings or parents,
these skills when learned as a teenager will help them have a leg up on the competition in life.
As a parent, your support can offer a safe and stable place for them to process any conflicts they may face, both internally and externally. Here are some alternative ways to view conflict and guide your teen:
1. Making Mistakes is Okay!
Mistakes will happen throughout life, especially when we try out something new. During the teen years, many changes take place, including interests and friendships.
While trying to fit in, your teen can have socially awkward moments that feel life-altering. For example, your child may say or do something offensive to a peer, resulting in backlash or conflict.
Remind them that mistakes are okay and the situation is not a terminal moment. Let them know this is an opportunity to practice humility and empathy.
2. Self-Reflection and Conflict
Disagreements create an opportunity to search inward and learn about oneself if you are determined to understand them. Maybe your teen will realize that he (or she) does not fight fair or that they hold onto their feelings until they act out in maladaptive ways.
In addition, there is an opportunity to find something positive, such as the strength and ability to stand alone on an issue, especially when setting a boundary.
3. Understanding Others Through Conflict
Your teen can learn a lot about conflict by observing how it arises in friendships, family dynamics, and others. Teach your teen how to determine if the conflict they are experiencing (or witnessing) is healthy or unhealthy.
Signs of a healthy conflict involve attempts to seek a solution, taking accountability, and giving space to share each other's emotions. Symptoms of unhealthy conflict involve manipulation, violation of boundaries, name-calling, and yelling.
4. Creating Opportunities Through Conflict
We can grow through the discomfort. Sometimes discomfort provides the motives to make changes with ourselves and with others. For example, constant conflict with a peer may push them out of their current situation and encourage them to find new friends that are more supportive or inspiring. Even experiencing a breakup can help your teen to move toward healthy relationships.
5. Provide Emotional Support
During the conflict, your teen will need your unconditional love and support. Be a stellar role model and teacher of dealing with the discomfort of conflict.
Offer quality time to your teen and encourage them to speak openly about difficulties in their life. Know when to discuss and when to suggest!
Sometimes all your teen needs is a space to vent, and other times they may ask for your advice. Start with open-ended questions to encourage your teen to process emotions independently before coming to the rescue.
Conflict will be complex for your teen because conflict is difficult for everyone. However, you will be one of the primary guidance supports for your child as they navigate it. This is an opportunity to teach your child about growth, friendship, and self-care, and they will keep those lessons for life.
Katy Teen & Family Counseling: 70+ Years of Combined Experience in Teen Therapy in Katy, Tx
At our Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling, teen counseling is a specific area of specialty for our therapists. Teen depression, anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks and other challenges have been on the rise.
It can be challenging as a parent to provide the help and support teens need when they struggle with emotional challenges. You are not alone. Our therapists who specialize in teen counseling can help.
Katy Teen & Family Counseling is easy to get to and is conveniently located just off of 99 and I-10. If you are ready to start teen counseling, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:
Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling
Speak with our therapists who specialize in teen counseling
Get the support that you and your teen may need during a difficult time
Other Therapy and Counseling Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling
At our Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we use therapy and counseling approaches that are supported by research. These approaches have been shown to work in the shortest amount of time.
We also offer the following therapy and counseling services:
Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)
Peak performance (optimal athletic brain performance)
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)
Group Therapy for Teens
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Support Group for Parents
Parents of teenagers and young adults face unique challenges. The "Parents Supporting Parent's" group at Katy Teen & Family Counseling provides a place where parents can meet with other parents of teenagers and young adults who may be struggling.
Parents will walk away from this group with a greater feeling of support, actionable skills, and even friendships.
About the Author
Jheri has been providing therapy to teens, young adults, and families since 2009. She enjoys using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) & Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) due to its effectiveness with teens and young adults.
Jheri also has a unique understanding of some of the challenges teens and young adults face who are bi-racial. Identity, acceptance, and embracing a mixed heritage are some of the challenges she helps teens and young adults manage.
Also being raised in a blended family, Jheri can help parents and teens of blended families make this journey a little less complex.