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What teens might say to a parent to avoid conflict

Posted by Louise Shuttleworth

1034 Days Ago


Mum, Dad, I would like 20 mins of your active presence and that means looking at me and really attuning to what I am saying without reacting to what I say. If I am still angry and talking about it has not calmed me down, I suggest you come back in 20 mins and hopefully I will have put into place some skills to self regulate.

For example breathing in for 2, out for 3, hold for 1, triggers my rest relax nervous system or going for a walk or listening to music.

I agree that sometimes I push the boundaries. I don’t mind getting some consequences when I do but make it a suitable fit please and ensure if happens that day. Please don’t punish me after that day as I am likely to feel shamed and distrustful of you in the future. Lets not avoid conflict, I need to be heard. Sometimes I may need you to voice for me, possible feelings and check it out. By paraphrasing what I am saying, it makes me feel heard. There's some ideas in a book called Brain storm by Dan Hughes that you might like to check it out. He describes it PACE which stands for Plafulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy..

Within my brain this offers integration with the two brain hemispheres, the left brain (thoughts) and the right brain (emotional). In this way, your child’s voice is heard and thoughts and feelings are validated and this then leads to empathy. In this way, you offer me emotional containment and staying calm yourself also models emotional regulation. In this way, you avoid shaming me, your child about their feelings and that in turn leads to the emotional connection so I can  trust you with my feelings.

As much as I don’t always like to admit it, I do like a bit of consistency around the house. But can you be clear from the beginning on the rules of the house so there’s no confusion later.

When I do push the boundaries, can you please ensure the consequences fit the event i.e. they are not punitive as again, I am unlikely to trust you if the punishment is too severe.

I really like to be nurtured and encouraged so can you remember to praise me too. Please don’t expect me to act like an adult as I am a teen and my brain is changing a lot.

Finally it’s your responsibility to repair breakdowns not mine. You will know when things are okay, as it will feel like melting.

Thanks Mum and Dad

Louise Shuttleworth

Article written by Louise Shuttleworth - Brighton

I offer long and short term psychotherapy for the full range of issues including depression, OCD, and eating disorders. I offer an integrative approach offering solution focused therapy, CBT, DBT, and mindfulness based techniques and is a trained Cognitive Behavioural Coach (AC). I support individuals, couples and young people.
My work with... [read more]

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