Parenting Teens: Conflict

ConflictI will be composing a series of 7 posts about parenting for a class that I am taking. These posts may or may not be of interest to those outside of the course. 
Week 5

There is a saying that if you do not doubt your parenting, then you are probably not doing it right. My oldest child is not a child any longer, meaning that I have been a mom for 19 years. If we add up the years that I have been parenting each child, it equals 61 years, which is a lot, considering that I am 40!

Along the way, I have learned that when it all comes down to it, we are all just making it up as we go along. There may be right answers, though they are not readily available when we seem to need them.

As the kids age, how we deal with conflicts as they inevitably arise needs to change as well. Recently, I sat at a picnic table in a local park with my four kids while we discussed some issues that were weighing on them. For this instance, we chose to visit a location away from home in order to help remove any distractions.

Sometimes conflicts are able to be managed over a phone call or text, some require a face to face conversation. Bigger issues may require a bigger step to be taken.

Last year we had an issue with one of our kids that required us to step back and take a look at what was working and not working, then be willing to take the steps to confront what was not.

Without providing the details of the situation, some of the steps that we took were to set strict curfews. Our teen was basically on lockdown for a period of a month, only away from immediate family while at school. The phone was taken away, and when it was earned back, there were several popular apps that were no longer present. Even after the phone was returned, it was returned with stipulations and limitations on time and access.

Setting the restrictions and punishments was not fun for any of the parents involved, but it was necessary.

Once that ground rules were in place, we were able to move past the conflict with all parents on board. Over time, we have learned that as long as the kids know that we are coming from a place of love and support, they tend to come around.


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