Keeping Promises in the Time of Conflict

Keeping Promises in the Time of Conflict

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Parenting Adolescents, Trending, Tween Times


Your adolescent is angry, and she directs it at you.

Before school started last fall, you two agreed that submitting homework on time and holding specific grades in each class would earn her privileges, including technology, attending events, and visiting friends’ homes. Two weeks ago, you and your daughter got notices that some grades fell below their expected levels. When the set grace period for improvement expired, you asked her to share her grade portal with you, as she didn’t come to you first.

She devoted more attention to school and raised her grades, but they still fell below the set expectations. They both knew her privileges would decrease in response to her declining responsibility. Still, she is angry and states, “The expectations are too high; you have no idea how demanding the teachers are, and it’s completely unfair. I want out of our agreement. Now I have to miss everything.”

Does this sound familiar? Of course. We are accessible and safe targets for our kids to express their frustration. They know we love them unconditionally and 100% have their backs. Yet their words to their friends are, “Mom said I can’t go or Dad disconnected my Wi-Fi.”

Parents may feel tempted to lecture or admonish their children for not keeping their commitments. However, such an approach exacerbates the situation and piles on emotional conflict. If you’d used your time wisely, if you’d gone to tutoring, if you’d done the homework, etc. You should be mad at yourself, not me; after all, you’re the one who didn’t do the work. I’m not responsible for your poor choices. Get your act together.

But you will not say any of those things or anything resembling them because they will not help. You are a person of your word; you don’t bargain or dismiss agreed-upon consequences. And you don’t emotionally lose it. You believe in your daughter and know that she, like you, is a person of remarkable character.

The best approach uses words that express empathy, compassion, and validation. “I know you’re annoyed and disappointed. You worked hard to raise your grades. Missing your best friend’s birthday party and boyfriend’s game is painful. Your social life is important to you. I know this isn’t easy. I believe in you.” 

By communicating this way, parents foster the trust and respect crucial for a healthy parent-child relationship.


The tween’s learning opportunities:

Time management


Decision making



©2024 JoAnn Schauf, MS, LLC Your Tween & You | All rights reserved.