You want your child to grow into an independent, intelligent adult who can think for herself, right? Well then, as frustrating as it can be, disagreeing with you is actually a sign of healthy development. Instead of blindly accepting everything she is told at face value, she now has the mental capacity to think abstractly and question the validity and reasoning behind what is being said. Instead of resorting to the standard parental response, "because I said so," encourage your teen to learn how to negotiate, problem-solve and collaborate by pulling back the curtain and giving her a clear view of your thought process. Even better, help her learn how to clearly communicate her ideas and opinions and encourage her involvement in the decision-making process.
Here are 9 power phrases that will work wonders when your teen disagrees with you:
- I am basing my decision upon what I know, which is <paraphrase>. If you have additional information you'd like to share with me, I'll take it into consideration and let you know if it impacts my final decision.
- I can see why you see it that way, but have you considered...?
- I hear what you’re saying, however when you <behavior> I worry that <concern>. Do you have any suggestions?
- I respect your opinion. If you have additional points you’d like me to consider, please write them down and we can discuss them at <time>.
- If you have a problem with my decision, I am happy to discuss it with you—calmly. Otherwise, I expect your cooperation. Is there anything you see as unreasonable about that?
- If you were in my position, what would you do?
- It's your choice. You can decide to <behavior> OR deal with the consequence, which is...
- Up to a point I agree with you. What I question is <concern>.
- Your opinion is important to me, and I’d like to get your input before I make my decision, however it is MY decision to make.
Excerpt from the book, Power Phrases for Parents: Teen Edition, by Dr. Cameron L. Caswell.