Conflict with friends is a normal part of the human experience. When your teen is facing friend issues, it's helpful to provide her with tools she can use to resolve these and other conflicts in life, as opposed to attempting to fix her problems. Skills such as anger management, open communication and understanding the art of compromise can help your teen resolve her conflicts in a responsible and healthy manner.
Listen to your teen as she explains the issues that she is having with a friend. Avoid offering any advice before your teen has finished explaining her side of the story. Allow her to express her thoughts and emotions - talking about the issue will help her feel better. Avoid passing judgment on anything that your teen shares with you, as this may cause her to distrust you in the future.
Provide your teen with conflict resolution tools, such as learning how to compromise with others and how to appropriately manage anger. Encourage your teen to be calm before she attempts to resolve the conflict with her friend. GirlsHealth, an initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, suggests that you encourage your teen to explore how she is feeling about the issue so that she is clear about what is bothering her.
Offer your teen your thoughts without telling her how to handle the situation. It is important to allow her to resolve her conflicts on her own so that she can learn healthy ways to address conflicts with others throughout her life. If possible, help your teen view the issue from her friend's perspective so that she can formulate a broader awareness of the problem. Encourage her to follow up with you after she has addressed the issue with her friend.
- Research various conflict resolution techniques and share these with your teen. Give your teen personal examples of how you've resolved conflicts with friends to help her generate her own ideas. Consider using role-play exercises to help your teen practice how to handle the situation.
- Do not intervene in your teen's conflicts unless she asks you to do so. Such interference will disempower her and will not help her learn how to manage and resolve conflicts on her own. Also, do not encourage your teen to use violence to resolve conflicts.
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