Nobody ever said that parenting was easy, and while there may be some rule books out there, none can be followed to the letter, since every family is different, and no set of rules helps resolve every cause of conflict within a family. When unhealthy conflict does occur between a parent and child, it can be for many reasons and can have demoralizing effects upon the entire family. Understanding the root cause of the discord and talking openly about it, can help to restore peace and harmony to a once happy family.
What are the some of the causes of parent-child conflict?
Some common causes are when parents cannot give their children as much attention and emotional support as they need or want; when children in large families feel neglected; or when disagreements are mishandled over such things as curfews or relationships with their peers. Parents may often have a different set of priorities for their kids’ lives than the kids themselves, and this too can cause a great deal of conflict.
How can a child attempt to resolve the conflict?
Communication is key when a child is trying to restore harmony in the relationship with their parent: Asking your kids what has upset or angered them, can be the first step. Misunderstandings can often occur, and a child may be clueless as to what exactly they did to cause the conflict between them. Once they understand, or at least appreciate their parent’s perspective, then healing can begin.
How can a parent attempt to resolve the conflict?
Sometimes parents can become out of touch with their kids, and so when a conflict occurs, it’s recommended that they use empathy to understand their kids experience before reacting to it. Remembering what it was like to be a child can be hugely helpful, and open and frank discussions to understand life from your child’s perspective are usually beneficial for both parties. Parents can then be empathetic and try to understand what the child may be going through, instead of simply reacting with anger or disapproval.
When is it time to seek professional help?
While some minor conflicts between parents and children may be resolved amongst themselves, there are other occasions when professional help is recommended. For instance, if the level of arguing becomes intense and happens every day, then it will quickly begin to have a negative impact on the rest of the family, and this is when therapeutic intervention may be needed. Having a third party assess the situation and talk calmly to both parties in a safe and non-biased environment can help find safe and healthy resolutions to the conflict.
Some quick tips for helping to avoid parent child conflict are to respect your child’s perspectives (that doesn’t mean you need to agree, but simply let them know you understand); give them a balance of freedom and healthy boundary setting; and ensure that any restrictions placed upon them are thoughtful and age appropriate. For more detailed advice and guidance on resolving conflicts between parents and children, please talk to a counselor.