Conflicts and Communication Skills

images-11Most parents (including myself) get triggered by what their teenage son or daughter says or does.  We don’t have any control over getting triggered in any relationship. However, we do have control over how we respond, (with practice).  Most parents/people respond in one of two ways: over react and explode  or  withdraw and put up a cold wall (which later usually erupts). Underneath our anger is often hurt and fear.

Here’s something I tell myself over and over:  “It’s not about me.” and “What you think of me is none of my business.”   Sooo, what others do or say, including our teenagers (who often reject us as they assert their independence) says something about them, not me.  This is true in all relationships. I remind myself, “It’s their journey.”  And, I don’t have to tolerate verbal abuse either.  I often ask parents I coach, “Would you allow a friend to talk to you the way you allow your teenager to talk to you?”  The trick is, we don’t have to lower ourselves to the same blame game.  Instead, when my teen needs a ride somewhere, I can say, “Due to how you talked to me, I won’t be driving you today.”  Of course they will get all upset. Just walk out of the room. Stop talking. Short and sweet is much more powerful, clear, and effective.  And, your self respect will rise too.

So take this opportunity with your teenager to practice some relationship skills that might also help you in other relationships as well.

Remember: “Talk less, listen more.”

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About Linda Marten, MSW

Linda Marten is a California Credentialed Parent Educator since 1998, a former LAUSD parent educator & teacher advisor for 14 years, and a Member of the California Teachers Association (CTA) . She holds a Masters degree in Social Work from University of Washington and has extensive experience teaching and training parents and teachers. Linda leads interactive, informative workshops for parents, youth, and teachers from diverse socio-economic, racial and cultural backgrounds focusing on numerous issues related to parenting as well as helping youth who want to stop being bullied. Ms. Marten is a "bully expert" and has had great success teaching youth the "Bullies to Buddies" method developed by Izzy Kalman, school psychologist. Linda provides private sessions by appointment. She is also the mother of two children.
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