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Posts Tagged ‘conflict with teens’

Conflict in Families- Choose Your Battles

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Choosing Your Battles: Three Questions to Ask Before Arguing

Guest post by Alexis Bonari

The older your child gets, the more conflicts appear on the horizon.  When you’re parenting a toddler or elementary school aged child, arguments erupt over whether a certain toy will be purchased, bedtimes, and chores.  Later, these points of conflict expand to include curfews, dating, clothing choices, cell phone use, money, drugs/alcohol, etc.  In other words, things get more complicated; they don’t get simpler as you go.

Constant conflict can severely damage the parent-child relationship. Expecting immediate obedience only leads to silent

Family fights and arguments are never fun, especially at mealtime. Choose your battles and treat each other with respect.

rebellion on the part of the child. It also leaves the parent feeling like a  bully. On the other hand, allowing your child or teen to do whatever they want doesn’t teach proper life management strategies, and can even endanger their life.  So what’s a parent to do?

The simple answer: choose your battles. Recognize that there are things worth fighting for, and things that are best let slide.  Here are two questions to aid in determining the difference between the two.

1. Is this behavior dangerous/life threatening?

At the end of the day, physical safety trumps just about every other consideration.  If your child is putting their life at risk or risking the lives of others, the behavior must be stopped.  Drug use, drinking and texting whiledriving, unprotected sex, playing in a busy street, etc. all fall under this category.  While it’s always a good idea to tell a child or teen why you’re placing limits on their behavior, there’s no room for arguing on points that involve safety.

While making your stand, be sure to listen to their perspective on the behavior in question.   Help them to understand they can always come to you with problems and you will help them solve them. Give them the resources to stop the behavior— drug counseling, access to birth control, an alternative place to play outdoors, etc.

2.  Does this behavior represent a difference in opinion, or an underlying attitude problem?

Sometimes kids need to be allowed to express themselves in ways that their parents find annoying or just plain strange.  If your child suddenly decides that they want to be a vegan when they were practically carnivorous only a week ago, so be it. If at 16 they want to dye their hair purple and wear all black— and their school has no prohibition against doing so— let them.  The search for self-identification involves test-driving different beliefs and personas.  Arguing over every eccentricity increases hostile feelings and resistance to your advice on more serious matters.

Some behaviors, however, are indicators of destructive tendencies that need to be addressed.  If your child takes up stealing from stores or hangs around with those who do steal, allowing that to continue will potentially send the wrong message about personal responsibility and morality.  A sudden obsession with ultra-violent materials also might be a cause for concern.  In these sorts of cases, it’s best to address the root cause of the behavior change with the child.  Simply prohibiting stealing, etc. isn’t going to be enough to change their attitude.  Discussing their rational on the issue combined with a ban on the actual behavior is a much more effective strategy.

3. Does allowing this behavior foster a distorted image of how the world works?

As parents, we often want to shelter our children from some of life’s harsher realities.  We give in to nagging for the newest gaming systems, toys, or clothes because we don’t want our kids to feel left out.  If we positively reinforce negative behaviors like nagging, whining, or angry outbursts, we’re sending the message that these sorts of behaviors are well received by the rest of the world.  Our children are done no favors when we ignore negative social behaviors. Children aren’t born knowing how to act in public or how to ask for what they want in a mature, controlled manner.

Essentially, parents need to ask themselves whether they’re fostering a world-view that designates the child as the center of the universe. Any behaviors that result from such an entitlement state of mind should be addressed.

By picking your battles, you can foster a sense of independence and uniqueness in your child without compromising ethics or common sense.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She often can be found blogging about general education issues as well as information on college scholarships. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.


Keeping Children Safe by Being Internet Savvy

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Keeping Children Safe by being Internet Savvy

The face of the way we communicate has changed rapidly over the past 20 years. Bullying used to take place in schools and parks, but with the advent of new technologies bullying can happen anywhere.

Children used to take refuge from playground bullies at home, but with the internet readily available to many children, and more and more young people carrying cell phones instances of cyber-bullying are increasing at an alarming rate.

Chat rooms, Blogs, Facebook, My Space and other social media sites, e-mail, instant messengers,

Teens use cell phones and the internet to connect with each other. It is easy to use electronics to bully others.

and online gaming and text messaging are just a few ways children are being bullied. Often, as parents, we don’t even know when our children are being abused by others online.

Although it may be difficult to tell when a child is being subjected to the abusive behaviour of others unless they come to an adult for advice. One thing we can watch for is our children being upset after being on the internet or receiving text messages.


  • encourage your children to share offensive or abusive e-mails, posts, and texts with a trusted adult
  • encourage them to use only moderated chat rooms that help curtail abusive behaviour
  • teach them to no respond to abusive posts or e-mails
  • help them learn to keep their passwords safe and be cautious about who they give their e-mail address or cell phone number to
  • be sure to turn on child safety features installed on your computer
  • teach them to think about how their actions may affect others, and to think twice before hitting send on any post or e-mail

Keep your child safe by teaching them not to give out personal information when online.

Make sure you children understand they should never arrange to meet someone you have only been in touch with online. This can be extremely dangerous. Online friends are still strangers.

One simple way to keep them safe is to encourage them to only accept e-mails, instant messages, or texts from people they know and trust.

Teach children that all information online may not always be reliable! There are many people out there who create fake “profiles” with only the intention of meeting and abusing others. In almost all cases its best to only chat online with real world friends and family.

Make sure your children know that if they are uncomfortable, or are being bullied they can come to you or another trusted adult for help. Keeping our children safe online and teaching them how to use a technology as a tool for healthy entertainment, information and communication will help them become a prudent, happy, healthy productive members of society.

Information for this article comes from Childnet International and