Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

October 13, 2015

Psychologist, Amanda Cummings, advises on conflict between parents and teens


Amanda Cummings, Ph.D. is a psychologist at the Pineville office of Child and Family Development. Recently, she reviewed a brief article by Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D., author of ‚ÄúSurviving your Child‚Äôs Adolescence.‚Äù  pinIt includes some important information and suggestions about fighting between parents and teens. 

Dr. Cummings notes that often times parents bring their teen daughter or son to therapy wanting to know how to stop all the fighting.  This article highlights that conflict between parents and teens is not abnormal and not necessarily something to be stopped altogether. 

The important thing about conflict is HOW you‚Äôre fighting, not WHAT you‚Äôre fighting over.  In fact, conflict, if handled appropriately, can be healthy and provide the teen with necessary communication and relationship skills for the future. Parents can use times of conflict to model healthy resolution skills for their child(ren). 

Some important tips:

  • Conflicts are an important aspect of all relationships and teens need to be taught by example how to have a healthy conflict.
  • It takes two to have a fight and one to end it.  If you want to stop the fight, disengage and/or take a time out. 
  • Teens are more likely to fight with the parent they are most similar to (e.g. same gender, same personality traits, etc.).  Talk about how similarities may be impacting your fights to increase your awareness of the patterns.  Then, explore options for resolving the conflict that don‚Äôt perpetuate the same cycle.
  • Develop rules for fighting and do your best to follow these.  Examples include no name calling, no cursing and no threats.  If the adolescent breaks the rules, that does not give you (the parent) the right to also break the rules.  Stay strong and do your best to demonstrate what you want them to do differently next time they face a conflict.

Click here for the full article. 

Our 7 psychologists can help with family dynamics and relationships.  The team is in-network with Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield NC and Primary Physician Care.  Our clients also may pay privately and access out-of-network benefits. 

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