Does your child seem to bust out the debate skills of a young Aristotle during battles over things like curfew or homework?
While the constant arguing can be enough to drive a parent crazy, there may be a silver lining.
A new study from the University of Virginia (UVA) has shown that if a young teen can argue effectively with his or her parents they are more likely to resist peer pressure to use drugs or alcohol later in adolescence.
“Basically, our main finding is that the more that these teens are able to openly express their own viewpoints and be assertive … they are more likely to resist peer influence to use drugs and alcohol a few years later,” said Joanna Chango, a clinical psychology graduate student who worked on the study.
Because what happens in the family is actually a training ground for teens to learn how to negotiate with others, believes Joseph Allen, the study’s lead author.
“What we’re finding is there’s a surprising connection between the two (arguing with parents and resisting peer pressure),” he added. So even though it seems counterintuitive, when parents let their tweens and teens debate, it can actually be a good thing.
However, this doesn’t mean that Mom and Dad have to allow temper tantrums. Instead, parents should be firm, listen to their child’s concerns, and prove that presenting “good reasons… in a moderate way” is more effective than whining or hostile behavior like slamming doors.
What do you think? What’s the most common fight you have with your teenager?