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Teenage daughter and step-dad fighting

Question:

There is a growing distance between my 16-year-old daughter and my husband, who is her step-dad. They are fighting more often and they are trying to put me in the middle of their troubles. While it is not physical with them, it is affecting me physically. What can I do?

 

Answer:

You are more likely to influence your daughter than your husband, so you will need to teach your daughter the facts about arguing:

  1. Arguing takes two people, and the person who does not take the bait to participate is in control.
  2. The person who walks away and refuses to argue is in control.
  3. The person is NOT the winner if he or she argues hard and loud to prove their point.
  4. If he or she refuses to argue, that is what makes them the WINNER.

Young adults love to control adults. If she can shut him down by not arguing, she is controlling the situation and thus controlling him. This has probably become a habitual behavior for both of them. Yelling has become second nature.  

So plan a way to prompt your daughter to remind her of this new plan when she goes into autopilot and starts arguing with her step-dad. Perhaps a code word or a hand signal cueing her that it is time to start the plan would be helpful.  

Praise her for remaining calm and in control. Point out that this will be useful in many situations throughout her life.

 

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