Conflict is an inevitable part of relationships-especially with family. If we can learn what it means to fight fair, we can change some of the negative narratives around conflict. In my work with teenagers and their families, there are a few main fighting rules we work on.
First, avoid using the word “You”.
When there’s conflict, focus on using “I” statements that describe how something made you feel.
Avoid using “You” as it can sound accusatory.
For instance, “I felt criticized during our fight” rather than “You always criticize me when we fight”. It sounds simple, but we often forget to use “I” statements
Second, listen in order to understand.
Don’t just hear what your teenager is saying- truly listen. Hear out their side of the conflict and then share your point of view.
Third, stop talking first.
After things reach a point where both parties are upset, stop talking first.
By this time, your teenager has already stopped listening. Resist the temptation to lecture and get the last word in. Take a break and make it a priority to come back later and discuss the issue. Repair is important.
If you find yourself repeating these patterns without change, we would love to help. Give us a call at Cedar Tree.
Our Best Ideas On:
Relationships, Connecting, & Family Dynamics
Sign up for "Rooted" our Free Newsletter.
Our best advice to help you nourish deep connections in your family right to your inbox!
Parents may wonder how play could possibly be therapeutic for children, or how a therapist uses play to help children heal. They may wonder how a simple, everyday activity in a child’s life such as playing, can be beneficial to them in a therapeutic way. Play therapy...
Anger in children can be confusing and difficult to navigate. Parents often don’t know where the anger is coming from or why their child is acting out. At the same time, children often feel angry with no way of communicating why or what they are feeling angry about....
Therapy really can work, but maybe not for the reasons you may think it does. Movies and TV have caricatured therapy in many negative ways, and often portray the space as sappy, shallow, unhelpful. I’d like to dispel some of the myths and give a clearer explanation as...
Cedar Tree's Mission:
There’s a lot of broken families who struggle to do life well together.
That’s why we help families create an environment where deeper connection & healing can happen.