A recent study and article recently published in the New York Times says teenagers who use problem solving skills to address disputes with their parents tend to enjoy the "sturdiest psychological health and the happiest relationships everywhere they go."
1. See and treat conflict as an opening, not an obstacle. Use questions instead of statements to give teenagers a voice and a chance to productively express themselves.
Constructive conflict between parents and teenagers depends on the child’s ability to see beyond his or her own perspective. “Good fights” happen when teenagers consider arguments from both sides and “bad fights” happen when they don’t.
Parental teenage conflict comes with heat and we can only contemplate another person’s viewpoint when heads are cool.
2. Let the argument settle before trying to turn it into a life lesson. This gives the teenager a chance to reason outside of the emotional high and come back to determine a mutual solution with a level head. This calm revisiting technique creates a safer and more honest discussion while bringing the situation to complete resolution instead of an emotional one.
The intellectual ability to consider multiple outlooks surfaces in the teenage years. While younger children lack the neurological capacity to fully understand someone else’s point of view, adolescence sparks rapid development in the parts of the brain associated with abstract reasoning.
3. For the first time in their lives, teenagers are learning how to shift perspective so parents must be strong models. Adults who are willing to walk around in their teenagers’ mental shoes tend to raise teenagers who return the favor. Parents who have and create empathy for their children yield better and happier results when dissolving conflict in the home.