Arguing With Your Teen Could Be the Best Thing You Do as a Parent

mad teensGood news for those of us with feisty, opinionated kids! (Yes, that includes me. You can't tell from the dark circles under my eyes?)  According to the latest research, teens who argue with their parents are better off than those who don't "talk back."

I didn't know the latter category actually existed, but who cares? Talk about a silver lining. At last, parents everywhere can take comfort in the knowledge that the daily spats and power struggles we try -- and fail -- to avoid are actually benefiting our kids, as opposed to merely adding to the hours they'll eventually spend in therapy.

Except ... oh, wait. Apparently these positive developmental results depend on the quality of the arguments we have with our kids. (I knew it sounded too good to be true!)


It's like this: The disagreements we have with our teens now are supposed to serve as Communication Skill-Building Workshops, so to speak. All the practice they get arguing "effectively" with us teaches them to be "calm, confident, and persuasive" communicators when they're interacting with friends, partners, colleagues ... basically, everybody else they'll encounter during the course of their lives. Studies even show that kids who can have a good, constructive argument with their parents have a sort of immunity to negative peer pressure.

So essentially, epic screaming battles which end with the slamming of a door won't do the trick. As always, when it comes to arguments, it's up to us as parents to set a good example ... by listening to our kids and helping them to feel comfortable expressing themselves

Which would seem to imply NOT yelling things like "See these gray hairs? They're all your fault!" or "That's it! You're going to military school!"

Hmm. Note to self ...

Are the arguments you have with your teen constructive or just crazy?


Image via D. Sharon Pruitt/Flickr

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