A question of how to deal with arguing teenagers recently popped on the Love and Logic message boards. If you are a parent of a teenager, then most likely you are a parent of a teenager who argues. There’s nothing to fear, you are not alone. You are better equipped to handle arguing than you probably thought. If you can speak in a complete sentence you can most likely handle an argument with a teenager.
It might be helpful for you to remember that parents of the leaders of the house who in the end have ultimate decision-making power. We have one standing maxim as the parents of the house: we provide the basic essentials for living, including food, shelter, and clothing; every else is extra, yet still subject to house rules.
Occasionally (if not more often) teenagers will challenge these rules. It is only natural. I have 2 teens raised on Love and Logic for years. The concept is the same as I would use with younger children, just how you word it may be a little more complicated. These days when a conversation isn’t going how it should I respond by saying something like “Do you want to continue this conversation this way, because I certainly can, OR do you want to try speaking in a way that helps solve the problem for both of us?” another one I use is “Do you want to solve this problem yourself, have me help you, or do you just want me to take care of it? (with the ever-subtle reminder that if I just take care of it, it most likely will not be done in a manner they would like).
Just as with dealing with younger children, ultimately it comes down to:
1. Providing acceptable choices,
2. Allowing them the opportunity to make a choice
3. Following through with the consequences for the choice. (and by the way, not making a choice means that by default, YOU make the choice)