6 Ways to Bring Light to Heated Talks with Teenagers

“While there’s no surefire way to guarantee easier, better conversations with your child, there are some things you can do to help them see you as more of an ally than a threat during these defining years.” - TGC


Some good advice here, but there is one simpler step I’d put at the top of the list: wait 30 minutes. Don’t wait 3 days, but give the teen a bit of time alone to wind down. I’ve found that having a good conversation about what matters most is unlikely in the heat of the crisis because

(a) They’re still to wound up to listen
(b) I’m still too wound up to know what I ought to say

Not every kid is like this, but I’ve found that a significant percentage will apologize at the first opportunity if you let them cool down and reflect a while before you talk.

Another bit of advice I’d throw in there… if you can find something to apologize yourself at the start of the conversation, that goes a long way. Instinct might insist this is the “weak” move, but it’s not. There is no reason we can’t own up to our errors and still confront them about theirs. (This is close to #3 in the article’s list, and in the spirit of #6, but it’s something more concrete and easy to remember.)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.