Most parents (including myself) get triggered by what their teenage son or daughter says or does. We don’t have any control over getting triggered in any relationship. However, we do have control over how we respond, (with practice). Most parents/people respond in one of two ways: over react and explode or withdraw and put up a cold wall (which later usually erupts). Underneath our anger is often hurt and fear.
Here’s something I tell myself over and over: “It’s not about me.” and “What you think of me is none of my business.” Sooo, what others do or say, including our teenagers (who often reject us as they assert their independence) says something about them, not me. This is true in all relationships. I remind myself, “It’s their journey.” And, I don’t have to tolerate verbal abuse either. I often ask parents I coach, “Would you allow a friend to talk to you the way you allow your teenager to talk to you?” The trick is, we don’t have to lower ourselves to the same blame game. Instead, when my teen needs a ride somewhere, I can say, “Due to how you talked to me, I won’t be driving you today.” Of course they will get all upset. Just walk out of the room. Stop talking. Short and sweet is much more powerful, clear, and effective. And, your self respect will rise too.
So take this opportunity with your teenager to practice some relationship skills that might also help you in other relationships as well.
Remember: “Talk less, listen more.”