How to Settle an Argument With Parents

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Whether you're a teenager or an adult, achieving a harmonious balance in your relationship with your parents is often difficult, at best. At worst, arguments can cause hurt feelings if they get heated and out of control. To preserve and improve your relationship with your parents, it's best to learn how to settle arguments peacefully and constructively.

  • Engage in a little prep work. If you know you have to raise a sensitive issue with your parents that will probably end in an argument, think about what you want to say and how you want to say it before you approach them. You'll be that much closer to settling a sticky point if you think about your approach first.

  • Put pen to paper. If you know that what you want to discuss with your parents will lead to an argument, you might want to take the time to write it in a letter. This gives you all the time you need to think through what you want to say, and gives your parents time to digest it all before responding.

  • Listen. Sometimes you get so caught up in being right or making yourself heard that you don't take time to stop talking and actually listen to what the other person is saying. The first step toward settling an argument is to hear your parents' point of view.

  • Leave the insults behind. Once you're listening to what your parents are trying to tell you, you don't need to use derogatory words or statements to get your point across. Rather, simply state that you disagree and offer your reasons why.

  • Remember how you feel about your parents. You're in an argument, but that doesn't negate how much you care about them. Although this might be difficult, separate the people from the words and your feelings for them from the issue you're trying to settle.

  • Control your emotions. Keep focused on the goal, which is to settle the argument with your parents and avoid making it worse. When you feel yourself becoming extremely angry and close to yelling, suggest that you take some time to calm down and readdress the issue when you can resume talking peacefully.

Tips & Warnings

  • Choose a time to discuss the issue that works for both you and your parents, so that no one is exhausted and everyone can focus on each other.
  • When you're trying to settle an argument with your parents, always remember to respect them, and they'll respect you in return.
  • If you're at an impasse, another way to resolve the argument is to bring in a neutral third party to act as a mediator.
  • Avoid the accusatory "You" statements. Nothing will put your parents on the defensive quicker than pointing fingers and beginning every point with "You are" or "You did." Instead, try to convey your feelings by owning your feelings with "I" statements like "I feel" or "I'd like."
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