Conflict with parents

This article was written by a young person from Wigan.

If anyone says that they have never had conflict with their parents…they’re probably lying. Even the most calm, well-behaved, kind or happy people have conflicts with their parents.

It doesn’t have to be a case that you’ve done something wrong, it could just be that you and your parents have a difference of opinion on a certain matter and it brings you into an argument with them.

Just to explain what 'conflict' is, it means either a very serious argument which usually lasts a long time, or a clash of opinions, interests, etc. It may sound patronising to give a definition, but actually I wanted to look it up myself to see if it meant anything different to 'argument' and I realised that the difference is that a conflict is usually an argument which lasts a very long time.

This is important to realise, because whilst little arguments are inevitable sometimes with anyone you live with or are close to, a long period of conflict with your parents can cause both you and your parents much unhappiness and stress. It may even impact on your mental health, causing you all to feel down and depressed. This, in turn, may impact your physical health, causing you to eat less, exercise less, etc. which may make you feel even worse - a vicious circle!

So, it is important that you try to put an end to conflict with parents as quickly as possible.

Personally, I hate conflict of any sort. I’m the kind of person who would go and apologise to someone even if I know they’re in the wrong, just to end any bad feelings between us. Unfortunately, that probably isn’t the best approach and usually ends up with you looking and feeling a bit like a push-over. However, despite the fact you don’t want to be a pushover, you should also want to maintain peace as much as possible, especially with your parents. After all, they are the reason you’re alive and (most parents anyway) feed you, clothe you and probably love you much deeper than you will ever realise.

Tips to resolve conflicts

  • Think carefully about why you and your parents are arguing. Put yourselves in their position and try to fairly think about how you would feel if you were a parent
  • If you realise you have done something wrong, don’t be too proud to admit it and apologise. It may seem humiliating, but apologising is one of the bravest things a human can do and being the bigger person can feel really good!
  • Talk to your parents, don’t maintain a stubborn silence. If necessary ask them to agree to disagree so you can all move forward
  • Show respect to your parents. There’s no point in arguing with them just to cause a bit of drama in the house. Think about how important the argument really is and be honest with yourself, if it’s not that important, let it go
  • When you have made up with your parents, always aim to keep the peace from that point on. Be considerate and kind to them, thinking about how they might be feeling as well as yourself. Try to put yourself in their position sometimes, some of the things they say and do that annoy you, could be because they care about you.

Talking to someone

Some relationships between young people and parents can be very difficult. If there are problems at home that are too serious or difficult for you to sort out by yourself, get some support.

Talk to an adult you trust such as a teacher, youth worker, or if you’d rather talk to someone who doesn’t know you, call Childline on 0800 11 11.

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