Fighting in the Front-lines: How to Understand the War With Your Parents


By Gabrielle Toronto



The battlefield has been ripened in each household for centuries, deriving of the epic and unending fight teens and their parents often engage in. It’s inevitable. At one point or another, you and your parents will (if not already) have conflicting perspectives. If you want to come out on the other (winning) side, there are three things you need to understand: your opponent, the correct array of weapons, and a knowledge of when to raise the white flag.

According to every sappy movie about angsty teens and their parents, teens are so unpredictable. Teenagers are the “outcasts” in their families. They have “absolutely nothing” in common with their parents. However, do these teens think that their parents magically leaped over the trials of their teen years into their current adulthood? Based on the basic knowledge of human development, that’s impractical. Some of us may forget that our parents were teenagers too.

If you want your parents to understand you, it is in your best interest to understand them. To accomplish this, think of what your mother or father’s goals are. Not goals for themselves, but goals for their children. Their goals can suddenly become clear when you pinpoint what they’re nagging you about. This can show what they expect from you. Once you discover their reasoning, it allows you to gain the knowledge that a parent’s main goal is to help their child stand up when they fall, and to teach them how to get up themselves.

After understanding their reasoning, help them understand yours. This can push your parents to want to see your perspective. When arguing your side, approach it as you would when writing an argumentative essay; for example: replace cliche phrases such as “You’re ruining my life!” and “I hate you!” with something a little calmer, such as “I feel like this situation isn’t very fair.” Nobody wants to listen to someone who has been overtook with emotion, and the knee-jerk reaction is always to become defensive. Instead, ask your parents why they are angry and what you may have done wrong. This takes humility, but if you can do this your parents will recognize your desire to be better, and are more likely to allow you more freedom. Don’t come to the scene with a tank: arm yourself with tranquilizing words.

Even if you do try to understand and healthily argue your parents’ reasoning, they are still your parents and you have to respect them. At one point you may just have to swallow your stubbornness and listen to what they say. This is where you need to surrender, wave your white flag up, and drop your weapons. However, this is to your advantage since mothers and fathers will trust you more when you do what they say.  This trust will make them feel comfortable enough to loosen the ropes around your life and let you do more things.

Our parents don’t want to be wardens, but they can if they have to. Parents want you to have fun and make friends. The white flag will become your friend when you wave it at the right times, so don’t wait too long or the truce may be rejected.

Now, that’s that. Your battle strategy has been revised. Lead your troops towards the front lines with confidence, because you’ve got yourself the best formulated plan in history. The everlasting clash between teenagers and parents can finally be eliminated.