In order to effectively handle conflict as a parent, first, try your best to control your emotions while walking into the conflict; if you lose it, you lose all the way around. Now, I judge myself as a daddy of two girls, ages 16 and 12, knowing that it seems I miss it more than I hit the mark. Remind yourself that the conflict itself is good and not bad, though many times far from enjoyable. Most likely, your child knows where you stand on the issue and what the rule is.
An approach in a touchy situation would be to ask them why they feel this way. Let them talk and relay their opinion before you begin to reason; they want to be heard. You can pick the setting, whether over a cup of coffee somewhere or perhaps during a special lunch or dinner with just mom or dad. In your approach, remember that the main goal of this time with them is to build the relationship.
Allow them to express their feelings. Have your own responses somewhat prepared in advance such as “nothing good can come out of this situation” and/or “putting yourself in that position can only lead to harder decisions you will then have to make.”
At the end of the day, remain stout regarding your decision to uphold your morals and values. Don’t make it a fight. State something along the lines of, “I understand your point of view but it is not time for this yet”; then, perhaps, continue in the conversation with your teen and remain respectful to them and their opinions.
Teens should be at a point where they must begin to choose to take responsibility for their own actions. It’s important to realize that the behavior they choose, unfortunately, will be difficult for you to stop because, if they are attending school, you can’t be with them 24 hours each day, monitoring their behavior. If you do engage in a huge power struggle, attempting to lay the law on your troubled teenager while striving to watch them 24/7, they may only rebel all the more. You are, indeed, at a critical stage. This is not about judging behavior; it is about your teenage son or daughter following the guidelines that have been set forth by you as parents, and they would do themselves well to honor you as parents.
There is a good chance that with prayer and some relationship building you can make it through the latest conflict for their benefit. Remember, “rules without relationship equals rebellion”; therefore, say yes as often as you can and remain firm on the non-negotiable issues.