Conflict with Teens and how I dealt with it

You know being a young mom to a teenager is so hard. Recently my son and I had a major disagreement and it was so frustrating not knowing what to do or how to react. How do we deal with conflict because him and I both have very strong personalities and when we clash it’s not pretty, but when we get along it’s like a match made in Heaven! And for the most part, we are in heaven…

The initial issue

So he asked me to buy him a pack of playing cards right, which normally I probably would buy, but it was January, and as we all know it’s back to school and back to work and overspending over the holiday period is real especially when they are on break too.

The first time he asked me he said he would pay for it but he only has cash so I need to purchase it with my card on the website and he would give me the money, however, he didn’t actually have the cash in hand. He was expecting some money from his grandmom… I told him to speak to me when he has the physical cash because I can’t afford to take a gamble on school supplies, right? Or was I wrong, I still don’t know…

The lesson for them

Anyway he sent me the link eventually when he had the cash and then I saw the shipping was an additional amount, so I sent it back and asked him if he could afford the shipping, and he couldn’t and I knew it, but I felt I had to make him aware that what you see is not ALWAYS what you get. We argued over this for a week… I kid you not, this amount of conflict is not typical for us. We are typically a very happy bunch and it was stressing me out!

Eventually, I decided since he feels he is so entitled to anything and everything at a drop of a hat I too could have the same expectation of him, so I gave him a chore list, in this way he could FINALLY start earning his keep. Now I know they’re spoilt, they should have been helping out from way back when but there is a story there, a long one lol.

The Consequence

He hadn’t completed a single task in 1 week and then came to ask me about his cards, so as you can maybe imagine, I wasn’t very polite when I said no. On the upside, his lip was sweeping my floor, but on the downside, he wasn’t really speaking to me. I am not someone who enjoys conflict, I would much rather walk away and talk about it when I am calm unless I am provoked.

Then he’s dad noticed the attitude and we spoke, he said: “We need to find a better way to get through to this child because he has a terrible attitude when he doesn’t get his way”. That day we called him and we sat and spoke about the issue at hand… I realized my kids don’t understand me and my expectations, so I made it crystal clear.

My side of the story followed this pattern:-

  1. When I ask someone for something, what are my expectations
  2. I don’t repeat myself ever, I am the type that only asks once
  3. If you don’t do what I ask of you, this is the type of response you will get when you want something
  4. This scenario was a WANT and not a NEED scenario
  5. What have I done up to now for you whether you asked or not
  6. Are you ever without the things you NEED.
  7. You don’t get to sulk, and I don’t because as much as you feel hurt by me, imagine how I feel being ignored by you.
  8. IF you don’t want to do something it’s ok to say no, but in doing so please understand that is the same response you will get from me.
  9. Speak your mind… You don’t have to be rude or have an attitude in order to express your feelings, but they do need to be expressed.
  10. Is there anything I have said or pointed out that I am wrong about?
  11. What are your expectations of me?

What I learnt from the experience

Guys the lesson I learnt from this horrific 3-hour discussion and dealing with conflict with your teen is this:-

  • As much as we believe they understand or know how we think, they don’t, be clear about who you are and your expectations.
  • Get them involved in housework or some kind of contributions at home.
  • Being a supermom clearly doesn’t pay off.
  • And take the time to understand what your kids expect from you, it’s only fair.

Every day is a learning curve, I swear. I genuinely thought my kids knew me well, and I knew them. But somehow we got to a place where we had a communication gap. I can tell you since then he is opening up more and more. But I feel like we understand each other much better now.

Any tips are welcome on how to deal with teens, my middle son will be 13 next year and I am terrified because he is such a loving soul who could possibly get corrupted by hormonal changes.

12 Comments

    1. Start now… seriously he was such a darling till those hormones hit…and now I have to prep my soul for the 2nd one lol

    1. I agree…Start now if you can even if its silly things like packing up toys… I have to warn you the teenage years are like climbing Everest lol

  1. Great article. When I’m a mom, these are great things to know. I especially know teens can be hard to rasie, but the whole having chores to complete is a good thing =]

    1. When you have kids please start early…. We ALL want better for our kids and want to give them things we didn’t have etc… but I now know that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have to work for it 😉 … Thanks for stopping by :*

  2. Although I’m not a parent, I work with this exact population as a therapist.. it’s tough! A time of growing pains for a family for sure. Have you ever checked out the Gottman blog? There are tons of resources including lots of great reads about parenting. Here’s a great article I just read.. might come in handy but it sounds like you’re already doing a fantastic job! https://www.gottman.com/blog/mindful-parenting-how-to-raise-kind-conscious-teens

    1. Thank you 🙂 …. We can only do our best right!? hahahhaha but definitely heading over there now to check it out, I will take all the help I can get at this point!!! LOL

  3. Hi Scarlet! My day job is actually as a school counselor 🙂 First of all, I applaud you for making sure he had the money and not giving in. That teaches him a valuable lesson about financial discipline. As callous as it may sound, teenagers will try to manipulate your emotions if they know they can. Sometimes, with hormones, they don’t even know they are doing it! As hard as it is to suggest, just remember that you are their parent…not their best friend. And in order to be friends one day, you have to move through this parent stage where it’s hard. They will throw fits, may even say they hate you as they have to suffer the consequences. But giving in will not do them any favors in the long run. Continue being consistent and making him contribute at home. With consistency will come the eventual understanding that ” if I have a good attitude and do what’s right, then good consequences will come.” It’s like our jobs. When we do what we are supposed to do, then you get to keep your job ( obviously there are sad exceptions, but I am just speaking in general ‘life rule’ terms). Of course, starting young is important. It tends to be a harder battle to retrain middle and high school students. But rest-assured, if you are consistent and keep explaining that you love them…which is why you have to give consequences and chores…one day he will ‘ get it’ and understand. It may be when he has kids of his own. Of course, everything that I say is in theory from working in the school. I have to put it in practice myself with a 6 and 4 year old and get stressed about whether or not I can practice what I preach now and down the road 🙂 Just keep chugging along and doing your best. Parenting is hard!

    1. Thank you for the wise words… I think its harder because I never had problems with them like how I have witnessed with other kids so it’s a bit over whelming!!! I just felt like if we spoke to him like an adult and start treating him like one he may be more open to responsibility at home and hopefully it will stay with him forever 🙂

  4. I have a good few years to go but it all seems to be going to quickly before I know it I will have a teenager on my hands LOL this was a good read. It always handy to have a guideline when it comes to children and their phases.

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