The Instructions Not Included campaign will help promote a shift in attitudes so that seeking support is seen as a sign of strength. By unlocking the power of parents and families to help themselves and one another, we will reach out to more families, overcome more barriers to support, and help to prevent the escalation of parenting problems.
Arguments are to be expected as part of family life, and these can definitely start to happen more often, once your child enters their teenage years.
Sometimes disagreements will turn into blazing rows, with your teenager insulting you or swearing. This can be hurtful and disappointing, leaving you asking yourself questions like ‘why has it got to this level?’ or ‘What have I done wrong?’
Whilst it is understandable that they may sometimes get very angry and need to let their frustration out, it is not acceptable for them to become aggressive and it is never OK for them to physically hurt you.
If these heated arguments are leading to violence, then you need to face the issues behind all the anger. It may be hard to admit that there is a problem, but if your teenager is hitting you, then this is domestic violence and you deserve to feel safe in your own home.
Family Lives tips on coping with arguments
- Try to keep calm. If you get too worked up, you will end up saying things you regret.
- Accept that arguments do happen. Sometimes your teen will say really upsetting things, but it’s just their way of reacting.
- Try to resolve the argument with a compromise. Or at least show them that you can understand where they are coming from – “I can see why that would upset you, but…”
- Don’t stir-up the situation by saying the opposite to them all the time.If you can see their point even slightly, let them know.
- Encourage them to talk instead of just shouting. Let them know you want to hear their views.
- Walk away. If they are just too angry to be reasonable then it may be better and safer to leave the room and give them some space.
- Think about counselling. If such heated arguments are happening all the time, then it may be worth suggesting counselling to them. Your teen may need to talk to someone new and unbiased, who isn’t in their family and won’t judge them.
- Remember that they may not be emotionally mature enough to deal with their feelings. If they are in their early teens, or just quite immature for their age, then perhaps your teen doesn’t know how to handle their anger. This can leave them feeling frustrated and letting it out in an unhealthy way.
Family Lives tips on dealing with violence
- Accept that any violent behaviour is wrong. It cannot be allowed to continue.
- Don’t use violence with them. If you are hitting your teenager as a form of punishment or discipline, or even because you are losing control of your temper in an argument, then you are giving them the message that it is OK to use violence to solve disagreements. Look at your own behaviour before you criticise theirs.
- Put your safety first. Get away from your teen as soon as they lash out at you or an object – such as throwing a glass.
- Recognise that they are taking their anger out on you. Your teen may not know how else to get rid of their feelings, and so they hit out at you just because you’re there. They are a danger to themselves as well as others.
- Call the police. If you feel threatened or scared, then you need to protect yourself, and if leaving the room or house isn’t helping, then you have every right to call the police.
- Give them space. Once they have calmed down, you may want to try to talk to them about what has happened and suggest they let you find them some help.
- Be clear. Teenagers need to know that you will stand by the boundaries that you set and the values that you believe in. They need to understand that any type of violence is unacceptable.
- Arrange counselling. If your teen admits they have a problem and is willing to get help, book an appointment with a counsellor as soon as possible. If they deny there is a problem, then you may still be able to arrange counselling for them. Speak to your GP or their school about what help there is out there for them.
- Work together. Show them that you will support them in getting through this stage, and if they do see a counsellor then work alongside them. With your love and forgiveness, your teen stands a much better chance of identifying anger and learning to express it safely.