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The teenage and young adult years are big. New decisions, pressures, and responsibilities enter the picture. It may begin to feel as if the teen and young adult years are simply filled with conflicts and behavioral issues. However, this season is an opportunity for you to build a stronger, deeper relationship with young adults and teenagers in your life. Here are tips to help you navigate parenting teenagers in moments of conflict.

Remain Calm.

Drama doesn’t solve problems, it creates them. In any situation, you can only control your own emotions and actions, not those of the other person. Yelling, accusing, giving guilt trips, and lecturing don’t help. If you need to take a moment to gain control, do it. When you remain calm, you help keep the conversation open which allows you to build a deeper relationship

Develop safety and trust by being able to calmly listen, even amid difficult situations and conflict. When you respond calmly, you are communicating that you are in control of yourself and can be trusted with the information that they are sharing. Remaining calm shows them that you are a safe place and love them at their worst. 

Be Consistent.

A teenager carrying the wounds of childhood trauma is probably not going to begin to trust you overnight. When you offer the teenager consistency, you are sending the message that you are stable and trustworthy. Consistency with boundaries and routines are just a couple of ways that you can offer trust and stability to your teenage

A consistent routine and boundaries will help a teenager know what is expected of them. A routine can lead to a certain amount of peace as they know where to be and when. When dealing with broken rules and boundaries, lay out the types of consequences that your child may face if his action repeats itself. Calmly and avoiding absolutes. In relationships, nothing is static. Relationships change, situations change, and our thinking changes. Never lock yourself into something that’s hard to back away from later.

Seek Counsel.

An outside opinion is always more trustworthy than our own in the midst of a crisis. Build a support base of friends who know you, know your family, and understand raising children through a difficult season. A support system can offer support and encouragement while being a voice of reason and a different perspective. 

Reaching out for counseling and mental health support when facing a season of behavioral issues and mental health struggles is also very important. Reach out to a local counselor and your local church for support when you need it. For yourself and your child. 

Relationships Matter.

Our ongoing relationship with our children is worth fighting for and must remain front and center in our parenting at all times. Too many times, we lose sight of the relationship to teach a “lesson.” Hold firm with boundaries, have difficult conversations, and give consequences with a relationship at the center of it all. 

When parenting a teenager, don’t stop reinforcing your role in their life, showing your love for them, and your belief in their ability to overcome the crisis. Hearing someone tell you that they are committed to you and love you, even when you know you’ve done something terrible, is one of the most powerful things anyone can hear. Allow your children to see that you value a relationship with them, even when they’ve messed up big.

If you know a foster care youth that is in Georgia, Texas, or Virginia and they need someone in their life that is willing to let them know that they are not alone, then connect them with a support system through Connections Homes! We will connect them with a loving, supportive mentoring family and a support system to help with their transition from the foster care system to adulthood.