Catherine Dubé, psychosocial counsellor
What a day ! This morning, I walked by my 14 year old daughter’s room and fumes came out of my ears. What a mess. Her clothes are everywhere, books and dirty dishes are scattered on the floor. She promised she would clean up her room yesterday…
I feel like a pressure cooker ready to blow my lid. I just want to tell her that she isn’t reliable.
Time to take a breather. In my recent readings on communicating with teens, I’m learning how to find new ways to communicate to prevent conflict… I should try out some of their suggestions. What do I have to lose ? In any case, my current communication style clearly isn’t working.
I’ll try to apply the 4 suggestions :
- Walk away (leave the space that is getting you emotionally fired up)
- Breathe (try to calm down)
- Reflect (think of a solution)
- Discuss calmly
We agreed to have a snack and take the opportunity to have a conversation. To prepare, I’ll take inspiration from my readings(1) :
- List facts : « when I see food on your desk or your clothes sprawled across the floor.. »
- Name your emotion : « it bothers me, I’m concerned it will attract ants… »
- Name your need : « I need a clean environment »
- Negotiate, your needs may be different than theirs : « I understand that it doesn’t bother you to have all your things lying around, yet I do not want to have ants in the house. How can we find a solution? »
In the end, everything works out. She promises not to leave food in her room anymore, and I am ok with her leaving her door closed so that I don’t have to see her mess. I’ll reflect on a solution for her clothing in two weeks from now, the time it takes to get settled in our initial arrangement.
Maybe I need to remind myself that I too was once a teenager…(2) Her brain is still developing.(3) She is so much like me…
We ended the day watching a funny movie. Humor really helps. We’ll obviously have other conflicts, it’s only normal but at least for now we’re on common ground !
(1) www.accroc.qc.ca, Guide pour les parents, p.22
(2) Delagrave, MICHEL. Les ados, mode d'emploi, Montréal, Éditions CHU Sainte-Justine, 2020
(3) Lupien, Sonia. À chacun son stress, Éditions Va Savoir, avril 2019
LIre aussi notre article Maintenir l'autorité parentale à l'adolescence