Expect Conflict with Your Kids

As children grow, you will discover that some conflicts with them will be easy to work through, while others will befuddle you. This is normal. What’s important is to address conflicts as they arise and work them through with your kids in peaceful ways.

Dealing with Parent-Child Conflict

  • Deal with a conflict right away. If you don’t know what to do or say, acknowledge the problem and say, “We’ll talk about this later.” That way your child knows that you’re not letting certain situations slide.
  • Listen to your child’s perspective. It’s essential to give him the chance to be heard—and to really listen.
  • Be clear about which behaviors are acceptable and which aren’t. Conflicts often arise when kids figure out that either you’re unclear about a boundary or a situation, or that you’re overly rigid about a rule. The most effective parenting is a style that has clear rules but also values kids‘ opinions and ideas.
  • Talk with other parents about the conflicts you’re having with your kids. You’ll often find that you’re not the only one struggling with a particular issue. Discovering you’re not alone can help you become more empowered to work through the conflict.
  • Model peaceful conflict resolution so that your kids see you in action and learn from you.
  • Point out when you and your child have worked through a difficult conflict successfully. In parenting, it’s often tempting to deal only with problems rather than naming the solutions you create.

No matter the age of your children, you’re likely to have conflicts. That’s just part of raising kids. But by being intentional about teaching your kids to deal with arguments and disputes positively, you can teach them valuable life lessons—even if it’s not much fun.



Great advice. I like this approach because it seems firm, but also sensitive to the child. It reminded me of an interesting article I read about how to handle your kid’s tantrums, I’ll include the link in case any other parents are interested: http://www.psychalive.org/2009/06/tantrums/


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These suggestions are really great. I’ve been using them ever since my two children ever since they were little. I’m hoping you can help me with a more serious situation.

I would like to know what you would suggest when a 17 yr old becomes verbally abusive, or uses emotional blackmail when she is angry. Of course, the parent shouldn’t tolerate this behavior, but how does a parent turn the pattern around if there’s been a history established? The teen has mental health issues and life has been extremely difficult for roughly 4 or 5 years. Due to a high number of crisis events, this dynamic has been established. We’ve seen numerous psychologists & psychiatrists. My daughter will not take the prescribed meds or follow the suggestions made by the therapists. Hopefully, she will as she matures as an adult. In the mean time, her dad, brother & I need to be able to live with her. I appreciate ANY suggestions you may have.

I need help with my 15 year old son he has stolen from us numerous times and lied and done drugs we can’t afford any program but he really needs help. I have tryed to ground him but he just walks off and cusses the police will bring him home when i call that he ran away but that’s it please help me.

I wish I would have read this before. Two things you can do. Go to the police station ahead of time, and meet with a friendly officer, who will have a word with your son on another occassion. We took our son to the police station, and that set him straight on stealing. As far as a drug program… take him to NA or AA. And you also go to Al-Anon. NA does not cost any money. It will take 6 months to a 1 year…but it will help. you need Al-Anon to help you and get this off your mind.

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