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How to Avoid Verbal Escalation with Your Teen: The Secret is to do Less

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Perhaps you were reading my previous article on how to avoid escalation and thought, “What should I do instead?”. It can be difficult to change patterns of communication.

This is especially true since communication tends to be passed on from generation to generation. It would be one thing if you only had to overcome your own negative patterns; in reality, you are also battling your ancestor’s bad patterns.


In truth, you can do this, and it involves you doing less. You didn’t misread that. You need to do less!

Essential Elements in Doing Less

If a conversation becomes a confrontation, the more you try to do the deeper you dig yourself into the hole. To get out of the hole, you have to first stop digging. That means you have to stop doing the things that escalate confrontation and GTFO.

That is teen speak for remove yourself immediately from the unmanageable situation.


This may feel like defeat, but it is only a tactical retreat. You will never outdo your teenager in confrontation. They have less to lose and way more stamina!

And let’s face it, by the time a conversation turns into a confrontation, no one is listening anyway, so end it! Don’t let it fester and grow worse and worse until you do something you regret. Save yourself the anger and stress that always comes with unhealthy confrontation through the time-out.


There are two essential elements for establishing an effective time-out for conversations:

  1. Time Frame

A timeframe needs to be specified for when the conversation can be resumed. This can be a specific amount of time, until both parties have calmed down, or a decision can be made to not revisit the subject. More on that later.

  1. Signal

You must establish some way to communicate the time-out. This can be a hand signal, an elaborate call, or simply saying “I need a time-out”.

It is also important to establish that if a teen asks for a time-out, it requires parental approval. This is to prevent the time-out from being misused by the teen to avoid difficult conversations.


How to do Less

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To pull this off, you must first lay the groundwork for conversational time-outs. As a parent/parents, you need to sit down with your teenager when things are calm and establish what time-outs are, why you will be using them, and how they will be implemented. Make sure not to lecture during this if that is a habit of yours.


One final note, sometimes no good can come from revisiting a subject. You and your teenager may have to agree to disagree over certain topics and this is okay.

Accepting the opinions of others who think differently than you do is a valuable skill. If a topic of conversation always ends up in anger and resentment, it may be best to agree to disagree.


Navigating conflict can be difficult when doing it alone. For many families, a teen therapist, young adult counselor, or family therapist is a necessary team member to bring about change.

Remember, you are not just battling your own negative communication patterns. Generations of negative patterns are a battle each of us must deal with to change our part.

Reach out to a family therapist today to create the change your family deserves.

Katy Teen & Family Counseling: 70+ Combined Years in Specializing in Teen, Young Adult, Family, & Couples Therapy

Katy, TX & Houston

Navigating conflict with your teenager can be tricky. Yet to maintain a strong relationship with our kids, it's a skills as parents we need to have down.

There are things that can make navigating conflict with your teenager that much more difficult. Things like depression, anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety, ADHD, trauma, PTSD or other challenges can complicate parent-teen relationships exponentially. 

If your teen or young adult could use the support and guidance of a counselor who specializes in teen therapy or young adult counseling, we are here to help. Call us today.

The Katy, TX location, Katy Teen & Family Counseling, is located right off of I-10 and Grand Parkway/Hwy 99 in Katy, TX.

Sugar Land Teen & Family Counseling, located in Sugar Land, TX, is conveniently located off of US 90 and Dairy Ashford Road.

If you are ready to meet with one of our teen therapists or young adult therapists or our neurofeedback therapist, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:

  1. Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling

  2. Talk with one of our caring therapists 

  3. Begin the healing process today!

Other Therapy and Counseling Services Offered at Sugar Land Teen & Family Counseling

At Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we provide a variety of therapy approaches that are supported by research and shown to be effective. Some of the teen therapy and young adult counseling we offer are:

Board Certified Neurofeedback Therapy

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

Body Image

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Couples Therapy & Marriage Counseling

Couples Therapy and Marriage Counseling can be very effective. The secret ingredient to success is each person willing to look at themselves and work to do things differently, together.

When a marriage counselor or couples therapist has this to work with, the success rate can be very high.

Sometimes life will throw challenges at us that create situations that put strain on our marriage or relationship. It may be due to:

  • Choices and actions that have been made by one partner.

  • Financial downturn in the economy creating financial strain.

  • Feeling like you're growing apart.

  • Feeling like you don't have as much in common as you used to.

Whatever the reason may be, marriage counseling and couples therapy can help. Couples therapy and marriage counseling has also been found to work in less time than individual therapy.

If you've worked hard for this relationship and find that there are now barriers in the way of maintaining a healthy relationship, contact us at Katy Teen & Family Counseling. 

If you've worked hard for this relationship and find that there are now barriers in the way of maintaining a healthy relationship, contact us at Sugar Land Teen & Family Counseling. 

About the Author

A man sitting at a desk with a pink, short sleeved polo shirt on, waring glasses, a silver watch, he has a beard and is smiling. Providing a couples therapist katy, tx and depression counseling katy, tx. Also providing neurofeedback for anxiety houston texas and neurofeedback in houston, tx. Also providing trauma therapy katy, tx and emdr for trauma katy, tx 77494.

Jason Drake is a Licensed Clinical Worker - Supervisor (LCSW-S), Board Certified in Neurofeedback, EMDR trained, and a Certified Brain Health Professional through the Amen Clinics. He has provided therapy to teens, young adults, and families since 2003 and is the Owner & Lead Clinician at Sugar Land Teen & Family Counseling, Katy Counseling for Men, & Katy Teen & Family Counseling.

He specializes in leading teams of high performing therapists who also specialize in teen therapy, counseling young adults, and family counseling.

Jason is also a leader in the field of teen, young adult, and family counseling providing expert coaching and technical assistance to teen Residential Treatment Centers across the country.

Jason is also a regular contributor to various magazines and publications lending his expertise to various mental health related topics. You can check these articles out on our "Featured Articles" service page on our website.

He has also been a guest on Fox 26 Houston and on the podcasts, "Grow a Group Practice" with Alison Pidgeon, "Let's Talk With Jennifer B", and the "Marketing Matters" podcast with Ashley Brock.

If you are ready to start teen counseling or young adult therapy call, text, or email us today!

Phone Number: 281-519-6364

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