Managing Conflict With Your Teen

I want you to take a moment to recall your teenage years. Were they generally positive? Negative? Somewhere in between?

One view of adolescence, originally coined by G. Stanley Hall, is Storm and Stress. According to the theory, adolescence is characterized by:

  • Increased mood disruptions
  • Increased involvement in risky behavior
  • Increased conflict with parents

Although these components of storm and stress do not generalize to all teenagers, most parents may recognize degrees of each in their teenagers.

One reason that parents experience more conflict with their teens during this period is due to an adolescent’s growing need for independence, and parents pacing the amount of appropriate autonomy.

What do you and your teen argue about? Curfew? Clothes? Where and who they spend their time with?

The common denominator here is independence. Conflict emerges when adolescents want more autonomy than age-appropriate, and you as a parent must set limits.

Parents need to set limits, but allow teenagers autonomy within these limits. Allowing a teen to practice independent decision-making within a set of rules or guidelines will keep them on track to becoming a mature, self-reliant adult.