Negotiating with a teenager or making him/her see a view point is the most dreaded thing for parents. It is often a difficult task since the egos of both the parent and the teenager is involved when making a decision. There is the constant competition as to who is right or wrong which often makes the negotiation process unpleasant and stressful. At this age juncture, teenagers often view parents as primary enemies and the start of all their problems. This leads to conflict, misunderstanding and differences between the parents and the teenage child. More the parents try to get closer, the child pulls farther away.
Stubbornness of holding to a point of view, opinion and the thought that he is right drives the teenagers to argue endlessly with parents. Teens have a strong sense of identity and want to be independent and need to control their own lives without anybody’s help. Even if it is a small decision, they want to have their input without any elderly guidance, telling how, what and when. Curiosity gets the better of any teenager and they have the need to explore the world in their own terms. Their lack of communication makes parents ask questions which make teenagers defensive and hurt.
1. Be a good role model
Parents are the templates that children love to follow. Show the teenager ways to deal with problems effectively in an amicable way. When parents are good role models, it is easier for children to follow the path. Parents cannot preach one and follow another. A teenager is an independent adult who is capable of making his own choices and decisions. Guide him but do not expect him to strictly follow them. Trust him and let him know that you are available for all the help that he may require, should he need you at any point of time. Love him unconditionally and move on if he makes mistakes without making harsh judgments.
2.Treat them with respect
Listening and having open, frank communication helps to know each other’s mind and viewpoints. This gives teenagers the confidence that boosts their morale to take better decisions. When parents command a decision without reasoning, the teenage is bound to resent and argue with his or her view point. Explain and present the fact or views in a placid manner to make the teenager understand. A teenager is too grown up to obey a dictator. It becomes easier for the teenager to agree to a view point if he knows the reason behind the decision taken by the parent. Communication should clearly set the expectation after explaining the reason behind the rules. Once the teenager knows that parents are listening, they do not feel the need to argue.
Give them enough responsibilities by assigning tasks. Allow the teenager to take decisions and let him be responsible for the decision taken. Discuss and plan as to how he could complete the task. Express the belief that he will make mature and wise decisions and give him the confidence that he will be able to solve the problems himself. Once the task is assigned, parents need not get into the details. Constant reminders will suffocate a teenager and will unduly stress him. Sufficient time, space and freedom should be provided before questioning the teenager of the task/responsibility assigned. Take the teenager’s achievement, good thinking or behavior into consideration and appreciate him in genuine ways. This will certainly boost his morale to reflect and those decisions or viewpoints that yielded positive results.
4. Encourage consequential thinking
Often, teenagers live in an unexplored world where things are easily achieved and done. Explain the need to think of the consequences clearly to the teenager. It will help her to think in a better perspective. State the straight facts and remind them that her decision is directly proportionate to the consequence. A parent need not be a very authoritative in enforcing discipline. Set the ground rules and gently make her understand the need for following the rules instead of dictating the teenager.
5. Do not raise voice
Parents can talk to the teenagers, not yell or scream. It is intimidating and annoying to listen to anybody who yells. Use positive words instead of negative words while communicating with a teenager. Reiterate the point that a mutual agreeable solution would work for both the parties. There are many situations what the teen may be saying or doing be illogical or impossible. It works when parents should avoid getting emotional and firmly state the need to discuss matters openly and peacefully. Parents should be in charge of the situation and should not let the teenager to yell or get rude in the conversation.