top of page

calm conversations over Thanksgiving

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

If you are a home school family, will you be home schooling during the holidays?

Whether you plan to do some "desk work" or take a complete break and just do some fun activities; either way, relationships are at the heart and core of every area of family life. Building better relationships improve cooperation and collaboration as family members work on communication for a more rewarding home life experience.

Do you have a struggling relationship with your teenager?

How can you connect with your teens or pre-teens over Thanksgiving?

How you are showing up with your teens makes all the difference. Making a small shift in how you have conversations can transform family dynamics over the holidays.

This post will give you some practical ideas of how you can "coach" your teenagers for more connection and relationship when dealing with conflict.

Here is an example scenario of how to handle a conflict situation:

Your teenager is angry with a friend and taking it out on a younger sister by being unkind.

A parent`s natural instinct is to react and reprimand the older sibling. This doesn't end very well in the moment. Taking a new approach and considering timing is key.

Here are my 5 P` to show up calm as a "coach parent" and respond more positively

1. Pause:

Pause with a purpose.

Pause for perspective.

This is the hard part. Stop yourself from yelling or saying anything in anger. Find ways to keep quiet. Count to 5 if you need to. I have learnt that sometimes I need to tell myself to "shut up and think." Stop and breath. Pray. Decide if you will let it go for now until you feel calmer or if it`s the right timing (unless someone is getting hurt).

2. Peak:

Peak interest in the person, not the problem.

Get a perspective about the reason for the anger and behavior instead of focusing on the offense or the issue at hand. Dealing with the problem in the moment never works out well in the end. Remind yourself that you can deal with the behavior at some point but for now, you need to understand unmet needs, hurt feelings and reasons for behavior. Get into their shoes and empathize so they feel heard and understood. When they feel you are listening and they have a safe place to share without judgement, they will be more open to hear correction. Connect first.

Empathy may look something like this:

I am so sorry you are having issues with your friend and I know how hard it can be when friends have disagreements. This friendship means a lot to you and I feel sad that you are going through this. I know you didn't mean to be unkind to your sister and I`m sure you will make it up to her.

3. Pose:

Pose questions for understanding and clarity, not to solve the problem.

Check timing:

Would you like to talk about this now?

(if your teen doesn't want to talk, let it go and ask later when he/she has calmed down)

Here is a sample conversation:

What happened with your friend?

What else happened?

How did this make you feel?

How else are you feeling?

What do you need from me?

Remember to keep empathizing throughout the conversation without correcting (just yet).

Note: some teens don`t want too much emphasis on "how they are feeling," especially if they find it hard to describe their feelings or awkward - this is often the case with boys. You know your child best, so use questions that resonate with them. If they have difficulty describing emotions, use words for them: Example: Are you feeling discouraged? (other words to use: left out, lonely, hurt, embarrassed, rejected) Use words other than sad, happy so your child learns new words of expression.

4. Plan:

What`s their plan?

How will they solve the problem?

They need to be held accountable for behavior and also find a way to make matters right.

It`s their solution and plan, not yours. By now, they should be in a better place after feeling understood and listened to. If they were in the wrong, they should be more open and ready to hear any correction and make amends.

Questions you could ask:

What do you think you need to do?

How could you make it up to your sister?

If there is a good resolution, then problem solved.

If not, you could say the following:

Your choice to not make amends with your sister will affect your relationship into the future. As an older sibling, your sister looks up to you as a role model and you can have a positive influence in her life. I`m saddened when I see my children fighting and not resolving conflict. I will continue to pray that God will change your heart.

5. Pray:

Pray for patience, wisdom, discernment.

Pray for character growth in your teenager.

Did you notice I used questions "How else?" and "What else?" These simple short questions encourage teens to share more with a sense of really feeling heard. These two powerful questions help parents improve listening skills and invite more conversation, connection and collaboration.

If you would like to continue the conversation of how to shift from directing your teen, telling them what to do and constantly nagging and giving advise and shifting to guiding them, asking them questions and helping them problem solve with more confidence, join a private group for weekly training and resources.

Resources to support parents with coaching tools and strategies in preparing adolescents for life and career success.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page