When people live together under the same roof, it is inevitable for opinions and personalities to clash. It’s normal to experience occasional conflict, sometimes even for the simplest things, and between parents and siblings.
Most children will experience exposure to this situation without suffering harmful effects. However, when the conflict is frequently intense, it can cause detrimental effects on teens.
Harmful conflicts are usually hard to resolve and may result in children having anxiety, depression, or trauma. For adolescents and teenagers, this may be a challenging obstacle to overcome for their development. As such, it can cause a block in their emotional and mental growth.
What are the effects of family conflicts on teenagers’ behavior, and how can you address it adequately?
Mental And Emotional Development
Experiencing family conflict from a young age to a teenager can significantly affect the emotional and mental development of a child.
As teens are most vulnerable at this age, they need to feel secure and loved to develop proper bonds and emotional reactions. If the adults do not provide a safe environment for them, their consciousness’ instinct is to be always alert.
A household that frequently fights may often lead to child neglect by displaying negative behavior and not giving them attention. It may then lead to poor cognitive development, which can affect how they perform at school.
Furthermore, teens who feel neglected from family conflicts, such as a jobless or alcoholic parent, can show behavioral problems. It can affect their social interaction with other people growing up.
Family conflict can have long-term effects, even up until teens enter adulthood.
Family problems, including vices, addiction, violence, and psychological manipulation, may lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders later in life. They may also have low self-esteem and feel constant fear and loneliness.
It may affect teens’ verbal and social skills as they may have difficulties expressing what’s on their mind. Teens are likely to suppress emotions and bottle up feelings. They also tend to keep their worries and problems to themselves, which can lead to suicidal behaviors or thoughts.
On the other hand, some teens may end up having externalizing problems as opposed to internalizing. A teenager who expresses himself/herself by externalizing a problem acts rash and negatively on their surroundings.
Teens who exhibit externalizing behaviors show signs of defiance, physical aggression, verbal bullying, being anti-social, or vandalism.
They then show behaviors such as using substances, drinking, smoking, vandalizing properties, and eventually committing crimes. Problematic behaviors are often a result of an underlying problem.
For these teens, they may face adverse and severe outcomes for their behavior. It may escalate to school suspension, total expulsion, or going to a youth detention center.
Family conflicts, like financial instability or sibling bullying, can have a detrimental impact on teens’ academic performance.
Growing in an environment where family conflict is a regular occurrence can result in learning difficulties. It can negatively affect them in lots of ways, including how they behave at school. They may then become anxious about going to school, which then may manifest as aggression toward their teachers or peers.
Lack of sleep or sleep disorder may often result from stress from family problems. It may result from experiencing family issues as a child that causes disturbance on the sleeping pattern and body clock.
They encounter trouble falling asleep even if they don’t have enough sleep, and they are tired and drained throughout the day. No matter how exhausted they feel at night while lying in bed, they still end up staying up for hours.
Sleep problems can be a frustrating experience for teens. It can also cause feelings of anxiety, depression, and irritation. Disregarding sleep problems of teens can be harmful in the long run.
It can affect their physical health, behavior, school performance, and may incur memory problems. It also increases the risk of long-term diseases, such as hypertension and heart disease.
Creating A Safe Environment For Teens
Given their age, teens may find it challenging to make sense of family conflicts and overcome them. They may develop distorted thinking in relation to the problems they faced in past events.
For parents or adults in the house, it is your responsibility to create a safe environment for teens while at home. If the conflict is inevitable, it is crucial to talk to them about it and how they feel about it.
Here are some suggested strategies on how you can ease a teen’s response to family conflict:
- Be open about communicating family problems with them.
- As much as possible, don’t let them hear you or your spouse shouting at each other.
- Try to be civil around each other in front of your teen, even if you have a conflict with each other.
- Think twice before saying something or lashing out at them or other family members.
- Sit them down and provide opportunities for them to open up their feelings. Don’t interrupt them when they’re talking.
- Understand that teenagers respond to conflict differently.
- Learn how you can adequately address their response to conflict.
- Don’t invalidate their feelings and thoughts.
- Get suggestions from them on how you can resolve the conflict.
- Keep a calm tone when you speak. Consider when a problem is worth fighting over.
- If it gets worse, consider getting help from a qualified family therapist.
Teenagers And Conflict
Remember that a child’s teenage years are the most critical period of their life and can dictate adulthood. At this age, they’re still in the midst of learning essential life skills that they will use until they are adults. Hence, it is vital to deal with conflict effectively without inflicting trauma.
Teenage is a vulnerable period for everyone, no matter what their personality is. As a parent or adult, you play an essential role in developing a healthy response to conflict for teens.