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PEP Talk

Reducing Conflict When Communicating With Your Teen  

According to Betty Brackenridge, MS, RD, CDE, it is essential to:

● Develop realistic goals for both blood glucose outcomes and behavior. Accept the fact that blood sugar levels vary in type 1 diabetes, and don’t stress over every number. Track averages instead.

● Give up the need to be right. Many conflicts deflate when one or both parties can do this.

● Decide what’s negotiable and what’s not. Everything is not equally important, but parenting includes setting rules and imparting family values. Show that choices have consequences.

● Don’t push. It just makes people push back.

● When someone gets upset, listen and ask questions that allow your teen to tell his/her story

● Use joint problem solving methods when there’s a conflict or disagreement, such as:

>Identify a specific problem (not “you always” or “you never).
>Either a parent or the teen can suggest a solution.
>The other party can accept it, refuse it or propose a different solution.
>The first person can then accept, refuse or propose a further modification.
>This continues until a solution that meets both parties’ approval is found.
>View the “agreed-on” solutions as experiments. If they work, great. If they don’t, look for lessons learned and then agree on something else to try.  This process is both respectful and educational.

● Be patient. If things have been rough, it will take time to earn back trust on both sides. Start with small, focused experiments. Small successes can build everyone’s confidence and trust.

● Compliment your teen when appropriate.
(Betty Brackenridge is currently Owner and Director of Professional Training, Diabetes Management and Training Centers, Inc.)


Betty Brackenridge provides her eight essential tips to reducing conflict while communicating with your teen.
Communicating with your teen doesn't have to be this hard!
  • Get connected to a member of the PEP Squad (Parents Empowering Parents).
  • Read more helpful advice from diabetes experts and other parents just like you.

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