Some tips for conflict resolution
Q: I am finding it increasingly difficult to talk with my teenager. Most of our conversations escalate into an argument, and we get nowhere. Any suggestions?A: Your problem may simply be a matter of differing perspectives. Both teenagers and parents grapple with the concept that two people can experience the same event, describe it in two totally different ways and neither person is wrong. Your child’s perspective of an event or situation may be very different than yours, so your teen sees no reason to talk about it. It is important that you and your teen begin to understand and talk about each other’s perspectives and how those perspectives have been formed based on life history, past relationships, and other experiences. Doing this will help both of you gain a better understanding of how the other person feels. You can then begin to validate the other person’s feelings in an empathetic manner. This can become the key to maintaining harmony in a relationship and make it difficult for ordinary conversations to escalate into arguments. Q: I have tried repeatedly to let my teenage daughter know how much I care about her and love her as a mother, but feel I am getting nowhere fast. I leave her notes at home, in her school book, messages on her phone, and I still seem to be growing further away from her. What can I do?A: We all have different ways of communicating. These ways can be referred to as love languages. When you interact with others who speak your same love language, you both benefit from the communication. Your daughter, however, may have a different love language than you, and this may be causing what you feel is a lack of appreciation or love from her. The five basic love languages are: 1. Gifts. One responds well to presents and physical tokens of affection. The gift shows that the relationship and person is important and loved. 2. Quality time. Whether intimate talking time or just doing things together, this is what you most value in a relationship. 3. Acts of service. You like to show and receive acts of caring through favors and doing things that help the other person. This shows one’s affection for the other. 4. Physical touch. Hugs, kisses, and other physical ways of showing affection are the most meaningful ways to communicate that one cares. 5. Words of affirmation: Verbal (or written) expression of affection means the most. Hearing how much one is loved, and why, is everything. It would be wise to look at what your love language is versus your daughter’s. Then talk about it. Understanding that you may be expressing and responding due to a language barrier could be the first step in bridging the communication gap. The more you focus on understanding and speaking each other’s love language, the better the relationship will become.Nancy MacGregor is YouthZone Pals Mentoring case manager.
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