Youth in Focus


Sep 2016    

Focus on the Family Singapore answers frequently-asked questions in their database.

Q: How do I initiate reconciliation with my teen after an argument – while maintaining my authority at home?

A: For parents to successfully work things out with their teen, they need to deal with conflict as teammates. When parenting teens, keeping the atmosphere positive is important by being firm, fair and friendly.

When it comes to maintaining authority and reconciling with their teen, parents are encouraged to:

  •  Establish clear ground rules and boundaries, and give reasons for rules
  •  Put in place consequences
  •  Implement the agreed consequences when necessary
  •  Discuss a plan to prevent recurrence of the mistake
  •  Reconcile and rebuild the relationship, re-establish trust
  •  Be willing to admit your mistakes as well

Generally, girls tend to be more relational and emotional, while boys would problem-solve or want to “fix” the situation. However, parents should seek to understand their child’s personality and how he or she deals with conflict instead.

Once children reach their teen years, they are in the process of learning independence and discovering their identity.

To create a climate of trust in the household and to continually connect with their teen, parents need to engage their teen by filling up their emotional “love tank” and building their self-esteem.

Often, parents are too quick to jump in with “toxic talk” when approaching an issue. “Toxic talk” includes labelling, generalising, blaming and comparing. Teens tend to react by either tuning out or getting confrontational.

Instead, parents should practice empathetic listening – listening with their heart. Parents are advised to first listen to their teens’ feelings, understand the underlying message and acknowledge their feelings.


© 2016 Focus on the Family Singapore Ltd. Be equipped with practical tools for effective communication in approaching difficult conversations with your teen at the Parenting with Confidence workshop (


 Picture by NiroDesign/


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