Parent and child conflicts can occur for many reasons. When conflict occurs, the entire family can be thrown into emotional turmoil. Resolving a parent and child conflict requires the participation of everyone involved. Communication is a very beneficial tool in resolving conflict. “When parenting, we need to listen to our children and consider their input,” says psychologist Dr. Longhurst. Understanding why a parent and child conflict occurs and how to resolve it can help bring harmony back to the entire family 3.
Although there is not one single cause for parent and child conflicts, Psychology Today lists a few common reasons. Some conflicts occur when parents cannot give as much attention or support to their children as is desired. If a family has multiple children, the middle children may feel lost and act out. As a child grows up, they begin to insert their own independence into their lives. Sometimes conflict occurs due to generational clashes. Parents' morals and views of life can be very different from their children’s.
A child can attempt to resolve conflict with a parent by using some communication tactics. Psychology Today discourages a child from assuming what a parent means when they are complaining about something. A child should ask the parent to explain further. Open discussions when conflict arises are more beneficial than demanding a parent sees things the child’s way. Doing so can just create a loop of conflict that has no resolution.
The KidsHealth website suggests that parents educate themselves about the current trials of children and teenagers. Books can be helpful when attempting to remember what it was like to grow up. Talk often with children, encouraging them to remain open and honest. If this is started early enough, children may be more inclined to talk with parents when they are experiencing problems. A parent should be empathetic and try to understand what a child is going through instead of criticizing or reacting with anger. Pick battles wisely. Save serious reactions for important issues like sex or drugs.
Sometimes parent-child conflict requires professional help. The Theravive website says that when the amount of arguing increases to such intensity that it begins to affect daily living, personality traits or family happiness, therapeutic intervention may be necessary. Counseling provides a third-party view of the conflict while establishing a safe environment for all family members to be heard 3. Counselors are able to provide conflict resolutions that are safe and healthy.
The KidsHealth website offers a few tips to keep conflict between child and parent at a minimum 2. Parents should respect their children’s privacy. It is important to know what a child is doing and where they are going, but if there are no warning signals of trouble, it is alright to allow a child a little freedom. Thoughts, their bedroom and telephone calls should remain private. Rules should be age appropriate and fair to avoid conflict. If a child has proven trustworthy, life does not have to be as strict.
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