You tell your daughter she cannot borrow the car to drive to the mall until she finishes cleaning her room. She says it is her room, and she will keep it how she wants. From there, the conversation gets ugly with name-calling, yelling, and slamming doors. Now you are receiving the silent treatment from a sullen teenager while you walk on eggshells to keep the peace.
What Happens Now?
Raising teenagers can be a challenge. Your priorities and those of your teenager are completely different. She is worried about being invited to the prom or keeping up with the latest fashion trend. You are worried about getting the power bill paid and making sure she gets a good education. Having one of these arguments is rough, but learning to deal with the aftermath can help.
Your daughter may want a little time to cool off and process. Give her the space she needs to work through her feelings, and do not push her to “be okay” with you right away. There will be tension in the room, but hopefully, you will be able to tolerate it while you both process the argument. Maybe it is you that is causing the tension after building resentment by what your daughter said. Are you frustrated with yourself because you gave in? Are you sad because she hit too close to home? Be sure to examine your feelings to know you are not causing the tension. Do not worry. The tension is temporary and will eventually diffuse itself.
Apologize if you said something hurtful. Take responsibility for it and let your daughter know that you realize your imperfections. Do not apologize for setting boundaries or rules to follow. If she is giving you the silent treatment, just talk to her as you would any other day. If she does not respond, just go about your business.
Use your disagreement as an opportunity to show your daughter by example the best way to manage anger and tension. Let her know you love her even when she is mad at you. Check your feelings, and be sure not to hold a grudge. Most things said in the heat of anger are not worth hanging on to.
Your feelings during this cooling-off period are essential, and so are your daughter’s feelings. Do not discount either. Instead, say something like, “I know you are feeling angry after our fight just like I am. I hope when we are both feeling better, we can talk about it and then move on.” If your daughter feels respected and has the space to process her feelings, the tension will dissipate before you know it.