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Recognize your teens’ unique personalities. 3 ways parents can avoid conflict

It’s the term break. All your adolescents are at home and they are practically “screaming” for your attention in their own ways. 

Scenario 1: 

No 1 is currently on HBL. On most days he has the house to himself in the mornings as the 3 younger ones are in school and the second one is normally in her room. September Hols came and he realised that the whole gene gang was home the whole week. It was mid week and he just ended his lesson. I asked him to help me boil some water as I was clearing the laundry. “Why did you ask me to do that? Aren’t the rest having their term break? Why can’t they do it instead?” (What he failed to see was that I had already assigned his younger siblings housework in the morning while he was attending lessons in his room) and of course I had to make him see that. After hearing this, he kept mum and did what I asked him to do. 

Scenario 2

It was Saturday evening at about 9pm. The youngest has started becoming cranky, requesting for his milk in his sippy bottle but the straw was not to be found. No 2 was trying to coax him to drink his milk from a normal cup and here comes no 3 storming into the room.

No 3: Where’s my red cup that I left on the dining table?!

No 2: I put it in the sink since it was empty (she spoke in a normal tone though it may sound like she raised her voice amidst the whining of the littlest one.) 

No3 : You don’t have to be angry right?! I was just asking

No 2: When was I angry? (Starting to raise her voice already, while still trying to coax the 5-year old.)

No 3: You shouted at me just now! ( his eyes widened and his face was beginning to redden, his hands raised already, almost hitting his sister when I blocked him)

Me: (Standing up and looking at No 3 straight in the eye) You stop that, stop right now. Don’t start spewing all kinds of nonsense. Is this a matter that should be pursued in the first place? 

No 3: (Staying silent, but starting to tear)

Me: I know you are tired, it’s already 8pm and you have not finished your holiday homework yet. It’s ok. Take a break, clean up the dirty dishes, do your prayers and have an early night, ok? You still have tomorrow to complete your school work. Remember, I did tell you to be conscious of how you act towards kayak and the things you say, she is going through a lot right now with her condition and all so I hope you would really find it in you to be more empathetic. 

He then moved on to leave the room and do the things I asked him to do, phew! (1 point for ibu 🙂 ) 

Scenario 3

No 4 barely passed her Maths termly assessment so definitely the September break is a time to review and up her revision time especially since she’s been very complacent, BUT, the process of getting her to do that is not smooth….

Initially she refused to follow through with the schedule that I suggested and she ended up wasting a whole day and not having her tv and social media time. On top of this I left her with this question “you failed now, but you still have your final year exams to make up for it. Would you want to make the same mistake in the FYE if you don’t learn your lesson now?” 

The following day,  she learnt her lesson and followed through with the schedule AND…. she had her tv and social media time 🙂

Each child is unique with their set of needs and motivations, what are the 3 ways a parent can support them? 


Figure out what they want 

 No 1 wanted fairness in the distribution of the housework and when he realised that I did just that, he was willing to help out.

No 3 was just tired and all he needs was the adult to help him see how he can manage his time and energy better. 

No 2 just wanted to be understood where her condition is concerned and not be judged for it

No 5  just needed to be coaxed into drinking his milk from a cup

No 4 wants to know that she can still play despite having to study

Meet them where they are 

After knowing what they want, let them see that their needs and wants can still be met despite making some sacrifices. The point is to avoid conflict.

It’s all about balance

If you don’t create it, the other person (sibling) will. There is no such thing as absolute balance and fairness in parenting, but a little give and take goes a looonnnggg way.


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