It’s a well know fact that teens at times can be difficult but when teenagers’ problems begin to affect the other siblings in their family and conflicts arise there are things that parents can do to intervene.
When children are young, parents serve as the referee for most of their kids arguments. With very young children this is an effective way to handle conflict but as kids get older you need to teach them as well as model for them behavior that will help them to learn how to handle conflicts between themselves with much less intervention on your part.
This will not only make things run more smoothly in your home on a daily bases especially when teens are involved but will also teach your adolescents how to deal with conflicts out in the rest of the world when you can’t always be there to handle your teenager’s problems for them.
This after all is the biggest part of our job of parenting. We need to slowly but surely prepare our kids for getting along with people under many various circumstances. And handling conflict appropriately is an essential tool for the various problems that do arise in a teenager’s life.
So, here are a few tips to help you fill this part of your job requirement, create more peace in your home and even take care of some of your teenagers’ problems all at the same time.
Teach The Tools Of Mediation
Mediation can be taught to your teens as well as your younger children as a great tool for solving problems and resolving conflicts.
When first teaching this method to your kids no matter what age they are, parents will need to be the moderator for this type of mediation. This way your children will learn by example to model appropriate behavior and techniques. You will also be able to instruct them on the ground rules for mediation.
- Begin by asking each child to explain their own point of view rationally and calmly. Don’t allow screaming, yelling or any type of physical contact or verbal put downs.
- Flip a coin or use some other way to choose who will go first and then allow each one a turn to speak uninterrupted by the other child. You can just let them talk until finished expressing what they have to say or give them a predetermined time set on a timer.
- If the rules you set for mediation aren’t followed give the offending party a time out until tempers have time to calm down. Don’t begin mediation until each child has their temper under control. This will allow each child to be heard as they express their own concerns, opinions and feelings.
- Now once each child has had their turn to speak give each one a second turn to give suggestions for possible solutions.
- If need be, give each child or teen an additional turn to offer their thoughts and feelings on a compromise for the suggestions presented by all sides. This helps kids to learn effective negotiation tools and encourages teenagers with problems to get in touch with their feelings and realize that parents will actually listen to what they have to say.
- The moderator can interject their own suggestions once each party has completed their turn for each round.
- If they haven’t come up with their own compromise for a reasonable solution acceptable to both parties at this point in the mediation, the rule is that the moderator has the right to determine the solution and both parties must abide by the decision.
Once this method is learned by the kids and they have reached an appropriate age to handle this on their own, they can use another sibling as the moderator if they prefer instead of a parent.
In fact, this use of an additional sibling, other relative or friend helps kids to learn how to handle conflicts in the outside world as a parent won’t always be there to moderate for them.
This is a great way for teenagers to learn how to solve problems on their own since they much prefer to come up with their own ideas rather than have the solutions dictated by their parents. And this is also an effective way to keep teenagers’ problems from spilling over onto other siblings in their family.
So, give mediation the opportunity to work for you and your family. Who knows you and your spouse might even find out that it’s actually an effective tool for your own problems and conflicts.