4 Ways to Get Through and Argument with Your Parents
Just because you’re family doesn’t mean you’re always going to get along. Whenever we’re all stuck under the same roof, tensions are bound to climb now and again. You’ve probably found by now that growing up puts all new sorts of pressure on the relationship you have with your family members. You’re maturing, turning into the person you’re going to be, testing new boundaries, and everyone is doing their best to adjust to this transformation underway. We’re all learning as we go.
Even if arguments are inevitable, that doesn’t mean we aren’t responsible for how we conduct ourselves in them. The trick, as always, in happiness and anger, in agreement and disagreement, is finding a way to love each other through it. Read on for some tips on how to keep it civil while you argue with your parents, or older siblings, your grandparents, or whomever else you call family.
1. Communicate your feelings.
The first step is getting your feelings straight in your head. What are you upset about? How do you feel hurt or misunderstood? And finally, can you imagine any fair compromises you might reach with your parents?
If your parents seem receptive to hearing your side of things, express yourself in a way that’s calm and respectful. Try to steer away from accusations by focusing on your own feelings instead of your parents’ actions.
Sometimes your parents may not be open to hearing your point of view. If it feels like your parents just won’t hear you out, then it’s still important to express yourself, so go talk with someone you feel close to—maybe a teacher, or a grandparent, or siblings, friends. Talking your feelings through will help you cope, and it may help you find perspective on this disagreement with your parents.
2. See things from the other side.
Just as your parents are learning to recognize you as a budding adult, you are learning to recognize them as real human beings, and not just as parents—real people with their own hopes and fears, experiences and regrets—and that means you are mature enough now to bear some of the responsibility for the healthiness of your relationship. Try to see things from their side. Try to understand why they feel the way they do.
You may feel like your parents are resisting the idea that you're growing up. It’s a big adjustment for parents to make! One of the best way to convince your parents of your newfound maturity is to handle these kinds of arguments maturely. Are they trying to protect you from the consequences of your actions? Are they concerned for your safety? Maybe they understand, from their own experiences, more than you think they do. And even if you decide that they’re misguided in their worrying, it will help you understand the argument, and how to move forward with it.
3.Take a break from your fight.
You live together; you may spend all day in the same house, and neither one of you has the energy to keep this fight up all day long, or for a stretch of days. If you can’t set this tension to the side from time to time, it’ll become difficult to keep perspective on it all.
So take time to let an argument lie if you need a break. Don’t let a disagreement in one area of your relationship stop you from expressing affection in other ways. It’s all right if you want to take a break and go get a meal together, or see a movie, or watch some TV. Maybe you’ll pick up the argument again tomorrow, and that’s ok. We get to love each other and find comfort in each other even when there are tensions simmering. Sometimes taking a break can help soften both of you toward a compromise.
4. Make time for each other.
Weathering the tough times is easier when the foundation of your relationship is sturdy. So take time to work on it. When times are good, don’t let them slip by unnoticed. How do you like to spend time together? What do you think your parents would like to do for fun? Look for things to bond over. Maybe go get some coffee now and then.
And try being more open and honest about your life with your parents. This way, the next time you’re not getting along, your parents will have an easier time putting themselves in your shoes.
Maintaining a relationship can be hard work sometimes, but this should be the fun part of maintenance. This is what the work is for. Make some good memories to fall back on in tough times.
Feeling at odds with your own family can be a frustrating and lonely experience, but know that these rough patches will pass, and that all relationships run into them sooner or later. You’ll encounter conflicts through your whole life—with parents and siblings, with friend and coworkers, partners and spouses, and maybe even with children of your own someday. There’s just no escaping it. So even though it doesn’t feel so great, remind yourself that these relationship skills will be useful to you someday.
If you’re having a hard time right now and want to talk to someone, there are other teens who want to listen at Teen Line. Call 310-855-4673, or text TEEN to 839863.