Article at a Glance
• According to Vanessa Van Petten there are five common fights that teenagers have with their parents.
• Understanding why your teen is upset can help decrease fights and improve your relationship.

The teen years are often synonymous with fighting. However, a lot of the fights can be avoided with a little insight.

Vanessa Van Petten from explains that there are five common fights teenagers have with their parents. Understanding what your teenager is fighting about can help you resolve the fight more quickly and improve your relationship. So next time you feel a battle heating up, step back, take a deep breath, count to ten, and try to understand why your teen is upset.

1. It’s Not Fair
When teens talk about something being unfair, chances are they feel like they aren’t important or special enough. For instance, when a sibling gets to do something that they can’t, they feel like they aren’t as special as their sibling. Although this is generally not true, it is a good idea to find out why they feel that way and then address the concern. For example, if your teen feels that it is unfair that she can’t buy a new outfit, you can explain that finances are tight and discuss ways to save up for what she wants.

2. I Want To Be Treated Like a Grown-Up
This is a very common fight and stems from teens starting to assert their independence. The best tactic is to catch this early. Make sure your teen understands the reasons behind your decisions and try to give him or her more freedom in more age-appropriate areas.

3. I Want To Be My Own Person
Teens want to be their own person and will often purposefully do something just to be different from their parents—even if it means they will get into trouble. For example, teens will keep their rooms dirty, get bad grades, and listen to certain types of music, just to show that they are different.

You can avoid this kind of fight by being careful with what kind of expectations you are placing on your child. Make sure that the demands you make are for their long-term benefit and aren’t just your personal preference. It also helps to explain that your insistence on good grades isn’t about stifling their individuality, but will help them have greater freedom in the future.

4. Why Won’t You Let Me Have Any Fun?
Having fun is a huge motivator for teens. When parents place limits on their teens out of concern for their safety, teens often get defensive. You can help minimize the defensiveness by letting them know that you are on their side and that you want them to have a good time too—you just want to make sure that they are safe. A good way to do this is by first showing them that you understand their feelings and then discussing ways for them to have fun safely.

5. I Am Afraid of Missing Out
Friends are very important to teens because it is where they get a lot of their sense of identity. This is why they place such a strong emphasis on staying connected with what friends are doing, thinking, and wearing. When teens don’t own the latest clothes, video games, or music, they feel like they are missing out.

If your teen wants to buy those expensive jeans, first talk about the desire non-judgmentally before saying yes or no. This gives you a chance to talk to your teen about making decisions for themselves—independent of friends or the latest fads.

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Taking the Bite Out of Teenage Fights

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