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.)