How to Stop Fighting With Your 15-Year-Old Daughter


The teenage years can be volatile. At 15, girls are learning how to transition into the women they will become and are asserting their independence. They still need your guidance, but they are likely to fight it as they learn how to develop their own identity apart from you. Your 15-year-old daughter is likely to talk back, to lash out and to rebel against you, all of which can cause more arguments between you. You can stop these fights by working on building the connection you have and asserting your authority in a calm and steadfast manner.

  • Choose your battles. Though it may be hard for you to accept, your teenage daughter needs to have the space to make some of her own mistakes. Attempting to control everything she does is not only unnecessary, but it will result in more fighting. Dr. Laura Markham on her Aha! Parenting website recommends reserving discipline only for the things that really matter, such as hurting people in your home or violating rules that protect her safety. However, if you just think that her friend is annoying or you don't like what she's wearing, it might be best to keep it to yourself.

  • Do not respond in kind. Your daughter may be yelling and being disrespectful, but you don't have to raise your voice or become upset. Dr. Roni Cohen-Sandler, co-author of "I'm Not Mad, I Just Hate You!: A New Understanding of Mother-Daughter Conflict," says in a Family Education article that it is important for parents to remain in control in order to keep the fight from escalating. Be the adult and maintain a steady and even tone of voice. If you yell, you lose control, and you have already lost the fight.

  • Refrain from engaging in a back and forth. Once you state your rule, your 15-year-old is likely to challenge you by telling you it is unfair or by making her case for why you're wrong. Social worker Debbie Pincus, writing for Empowering Parents, warns not to submit to the temptation to respond to these challenges and explain yourself further. Once you have stated your rule, you may re-state it once more if your daughter is challenging it, but then you should walk away from the situation. You are the parent, and it is your responsibility to be a calm and steady leader. If you engage in a back and forth, you are no longer in control.

  • Take a time out. When things are heated and you feel yourself about to say something you know you shouldn't or you start to engage in a back and forth, take a time out. Tell your daughter that you are both upset and that you'd like to talk about the situation once you've both had a chance to think about it some more. Not only does this help you model good behavior for your daughter, but it gives both of you a chance to cool off so you can talk about it when you feel calm.

  • Create ground rules at a time when you aren't fighting. Pincus notes that this can help you elicit your daughter's cooperation later. There shouldn't be any argument since you both agreed to the rules when you were calm and had a chance to objectively discuss any issues.

  • Spend time together every day to strengthen your relationship. Dr. Markham says that it is important to create more good will in your relationship than there is fighting in order to easily work through future issues. Find ways to have fun together, such as going to a movie or playing a game together. Talk to her about her day and about what's happening with her friends. The stronger your relationship is, the easier it will be to work through disagreements without them turning into full-blown fights.


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