When Your Teen Has A Different Opinion

How often do you have arguments with your teen? Do they usually become intense and end abruptly in anger? Do you wish that your conversations could be calmer and more civil? If you do, here’s what you must do.

It is reasonable to expect that every person will have their own perspective on something, and they are entitled to it. But when the two perspectives collide, a conflict results. To successfully manage and even resolve the conflict, a special skill is required. It is the skill of perspective-taking.

Look at this picture. This is a classic illustration of perspectives. Two men are looking at the same object…but from different perspectives. As a result, one sees the number ‘6’ while the other sees a ‘9’. Who is correct?

We must be open to three possibilities in the presence of two opposing viewpoints. The first possibility is that both are correct.

The second possibility is that both are incorrect. The third possibility is that both are partially correct and partially incorrect.

Both perspectives are correct in this case. But neither of them will actually realise this fact if they both insist that they are correct and the other is incorrect. Isn’t this what happens a lot in our conversations with our teenagers?

In layman’s terms, perspective taking means putting yourself in the shoes of another person and viewing the situation from his point of view. To do that, you must first remove your own shoes. This represents putting aside, rather than abandoning, your opinions, convictions, principles, and even values. Then listen with an open mind.

By Parcsen Loke, Family Life Coach, Centre for Fathering. 

Food for Thought: Parents and their teens don’t see eye to eye on many issues. What do you think can be done to help each person better understand the other?