Spillover Between Teens’ Conflict with Family and Friends
October 6, 2011 · Posted in Communication, Media, Parenting, Teens · Permalink
The July issue of Child Development highlights the impact of conflict at home for teens. It highlights the spill over on their peer relationships and vice versa.
“Adolescents experienced more peer conflict on days in which they argued with parents or other family members, and vice versa. Effect of family conflict further spilled over into peer relationships the next day and 2 days later, whereas peer conflict predicted only the following day family conflict. Adolescents’ emotional distress partially explained these short-term spillovers between family and peer conflict.”
Given the impact of teen-parent conflict, here is a script that, if used regularly, is guaranteed to reduce unhealthy communication between parents and children. Below is an example of a parent and child initiated conversation using the Conflict Script. It may seem contrived initially, but overtime it becomes the default of how to handle disagreements. This communication tool will have positive spillover into your teens relationships outside the home.
The conflict script has rules for the speaker and listener. Both parties have to commit to calm talk and careful listening.
Rules for the Speaker:
1. Permission to speak
2. Objective description
3. Primary Feelings
4. Internal Interpretation
5. Request for the future
Rules for the Listener:
1. Cop to what you did do
2. Apologize
3. Reassure
4. Commit to change
Part 1: Mom is the speaker, daughter listener
Mother: Can I talk to you about what happened this morning? (1. Permission to speak)
Daughter: Sure.
Mother: This morning, when I asked you what your plans were for after school, you didn’t answer me and walked out of the apartment. (2. Objective description)
Mother: I felt anger, shame  and sadness. (3. Primary feelings)
Mother:What I made up in my head is that you don’t respect me and don’t see that I am trying to care for you. (4. Internal interpretation)
Mother:What I would like in the future is for you to answer me when I ask a question or tell me you don’t know if you are not sure of your plans. (5. Request for the future)
Daughter: I did walk out of the house without answering. (1. Cop to what you did)
I am really sorry for doing that. (2. Apologize)
I do respect you even if I don’t show it all the time and I do know that you want what is best for me. (3. Reassure)
I will answer you when you ask me a question. I know how annoying that can be.(4. Commit to change)
Part 2: Daughter is the speaker, mom the listener
Daughter: Is now a good time to talk about our fight last night? (1. Permission to speak)
Mother: Let me glass of water and we can sit down on the couch and talk.
Daughter: Last night you into my room without knocking, snuck up behind me and read my Facebook chat out loud.  (2. Objective description)
Daughter: I felt angry and scared. (3. Primary feelings)
Daughter: What I made up in my head was that you don’t respect my boundaries and don’t trust me. (4. internal Interpretation)
Daughter: I really want you to knock before you come in my room and if you are worried abut something going on just ask me. (5. Request for the future)
Mother: I did sneak up on you and read your Facebook. (1. Cop to what you did)
And I apologize for not knocking. (2. Apologize)
I do understand your need for privacy. (3. Reassure)
And I will be more direct about questions that I have about what is going on with you and your friends. (4. Commit to change)
Guaranteed results!

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