Questions about issues in the news for students 13 and older.
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Fighting with one’s parents can be a normal part of being a teenager.
How often do you fight with your parents? What do you fight about?
In “The Best Way to Fight With a Teenager,” Lisa Damour discusses how not all parent-child conflict is the same. And she suggests strategies to help parents raise teenagers who can see beyond their own perspective so that any fights that occur can become constructive.
When raising teenagers, conflict usually comes with the territory. A growing body of research suggests that this can actually be a good thing. How disagreements are handled at home shapes both adolescent mental health and the overall quality of the parent-teenager relationship. Not only that, the nature of family quarrels can also drive how adolescents manage their relationships with people beyond the home.
In looking at how teenagers approach disputes, experts have identified four distinct styles: attacking, withdrawing, complying and problem solving.
Adolescents who favor either of the first two routes — escalating fights or stubbornly refusing to engage in them — are the ones most likely to be or become depressed, anxious or delinquent. But even those teenagers who take the third route and comply, simply yielding to their parents’ wishes, suffer from high rates of mood disorders. Further, teenagers who cannot resolve arguments at home often have similar troubles in their friendships and love lives.
In contrast, teenagers who use problem solving to address disputes with their parents present a vastly different picture. They tend to enjoy the sturdiest psychological health and the happiest relationships everywhere they go, two outcomes that would top every parent’s wish list.
Students: Read the whole article, then answer the questions below:
— How often do you fight with your parents? What do you fight about?
— How do you usually approach disputes with your parents? Do any of the styles mentioned in the article fit you best: attacking, withdrawing, complying or problem solving?
— Do you think you are able to see beyond your own perspective when you have a conflict with your parents? Do you think your parents are able to do the same?
— Have any fights you’ve had with your parents actually led to something positive? Explain.
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