You’ve been in this situation before. The fight begins with something small. You and your teen daughter find your way into a yelling match. Hurtful things are shouted at each other. The whole ordeal may end in tears, a banishment to their room, and general frustration between parent and child. It’s something every parent will deal with as they raise a teenager, and is something that many parents don’t find a concern in, seeing it as a simple teen blowup, a moment of frustration. To be fair to those parents, they may be right. Their teenage daughter might be experiencing a “bad teen day”, that will eventually end with emotions going back to normal within an afternoon.
What if, however, you’re dealing with a vicious cycle of fights, anger, aggression, and frustration? What if your teen isn’t just going through natural adolescent behaviors, but is truly becoming an angry and aggressive young adult? If this behavior and act have become a pattern, and you as a parent feel forced to use shouting, threats, and embellishments just to create relative peace in your home, anger is surely a problem that needs to be solved. And soon.
What Are You Showing Them?
With busy lives and seemingly impossible daily demands, as parents, we might not even notice the negative behavior we’ve been modeling within our homes. We don’t always realize it, but anger and frustration are often contagious emotions. Think about the last time you fought with your daughter. What was your reaction? Did you stand your ground, keep a level tone, and expect control and respect? Or was it possible that as the situation became more heated, the anger you felt further fueled the anger in your child?
If your answer was the latter, that’s perfectly normal. As much as we want to demonstrate the best of our emotions when in tough situations, keeping a firm but fair grasp on a conversation during a fight can be troublesome. It takes effort and practice, just as it would from your daughter. Your child is still learning and growing. Just as anger budded up in the confusing situations of their toddlerhood, you can’t assume the response from a child still working to find their emotional footing will fight fair or with reason and respect. This all takes time. If your child has been displaying signs of anger that has become a wall around the daughter you once knew, that wall will be a tough one to chip away at. Always remember:
- Respect should be shown both ways in an argument
- Arguments can come from a place of love
- Listen and stay fair
- Listen to God’s guidance
- Show humility
No One is Perfect
Keep in mind that as a parent you are imperfect, and so is your daughter. It is by the grace of God that we have the chance to seek out love, light, and peace within our lives. A child that exhibits clear signs of anger or depression should be listened to clearly. Open, clear communication is key, as is clear consequences to hurtful or unwarranted displays of anger. Keep your message of faith, love, and family strength in all your battles. Lay a foundation for your daughter by showing her the anger is not the only way to react and win a fight, but instead clear communication and a healthy respect for herself and her family. Understand that anger may for a time be a part of her emotional makeup, but that unchecked anger and aggression are things that you have to acknowledge—in her and possibly in yourself—for her to have a stable future.