Are you teaching your kid how to fight fair?

My daughter and I had a big mother/teen fight a few days ago. I’m not sure who escalated the argument so fast. I’m going to assume it was me because that’s really not her personality. Now that I think about it, it was pretty much all me. She tends to get quiet and keep to her self when she gets frustrated.

Looking back on it now, my level of frustration far outweighed the issue. Today I realized that it’s possible her response to conflict is learned behavior. She lets it go and rarely voices her feelings to keep the peace. That’s how I was in marriage before writing the book. I kept it all in, rarely communicating my true feelings. However I would find my solace in shopping. A little retail therapy always made it feel better, but only for a moment. Or maybe I would treat myself to a nice meal because emotional eating is another temporary pleasure.

By the time we got on set, I don’t think either of us remembered how intense it had been minutes before. Typical teen stuff. But the lesson I hope she learned is that you can move on from a fight, quickly. You don’t have to walk around mad or with an attitude all day. However she also has to learn that it is okay to communicate your feelings, if not in the moment, later. I want her to know that how she feels is important, however if you shut down during every fight or frustrating conversation, no one will ever know. I’ll make sure she knows that no love is ever lost between she and I after an argument. And as she gets older and begins to form other relationships outside of the home, it’s important that she knows how to argue or communicate in a healthy way.

I think I may take a few pointers from her as well. Sometimes it is best to walk away and address the issue at another time. In the heat of the moment, when emotions are high, there usually isn’t anything productive coming from it. My daughter just turned 13 and I refuse to accept the narrative of how awful the teen years can be. We will continue to have an amazing relationship and we’ll learn how to navigate the new waters.

They say married couples should never go to bed angry. I think that should apply in all of our relationships.

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