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Conflict Resolution for Parents and Teens

Conflict stems from differences whenever people disagree about their values, motivations, perceptions, ideas, or desires. Sometimes these differences seem trivial, but when a conflict triggers strong feelings, a deep personal need is often at the core of the problem. These needs can range from the need to feel safe and secure or respected and valued, to the need for greater closeness and intimacy. Conflicts are an opportunity for growth. When you are able to resolve conflict in a relationship, it builds trust and fosters a deeper connection.

Tips to keep in mind:

  • Make conflict resolution the priority rather than winning or being right. Be respectful of the other person and their viewpoint

  • Focus on the present and what you can do now to solve the problem

  • Pick your battles. Although you cannot always avoid conflicts, consider whether the issue is really worth your time and energy

  • Be willing to forgive. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish, which can serve only to deplete your relationship and hurts your emotional health

  • Know when to let something go. If you cannot come to an agreement, agree to disagree. It takes two people to keep an argument going. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage

Learn to effectively manage stress in the moment. It is the key to stay balanced, focused, and in control, no matter what challenges you face. If you do not know how to stay in control of your emotions, you will become overwhelmed in conflict situations and unable to respond in healthy ways. Find effective coping strategies to manage your feelings, such as breathing, counting to ten, or taking a break if you need more time to center yourself. Talk it out with a trusted person to gain a better perspective and see things more clearly.

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