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How to Fail at Fighting with Your Parents

How to Fail at Fighting with Your Parents

By Sissy

Sometimes when we’re fighting with our parents, we feel like we're SO, COMPLETELY right and they could not possible be any more wrong—and that's when we enter the Danger Zone. The Danger Zone is a place of uncontrolled anger and wild, nonsensical arm gestures, of slammed doors and inevitable three-week groundings. Obviously, entering into the Danger Zone is not a great way to get what you're asking for— if you want to win the fight with your padres, here's the truth: you need to just be the biggest, bestest, nicest, calmest, teen in the world. You think your friend Gabby got her 2 AM curfew by being a sassy buttface to her mom? Not a chance. So learn from the mistakes of all the teens (including us) who have come before you and DO NOT try the below tactics when fighting with your parents.

Fail #1: Threatening them. Yes, we too think it’s totally unfair that your parents said you’re not ready to get your driver’s license and have condemned you to 12 more sweaty driving sessions with that creepy dude from McGinty's School of Parallel Parking. That sucks major, major straws. But it will not help the situation if you threaten to run over your mom's feet, crash your dad’s beloved convertible into a tree, or warn them yet again of your deadly abilities with a crossbow. When you threaten your parents, you are sinking to a new level of stupidity—and you’re also proving that you’re immature and irrational. Take a deep breath and a chill pill, PLEASE.

Fail #2: Defying them with logic. When we’re right, we generally want to prove it with clear, valid points that support our stance. But when fighting with parents, we’re not always arguing about what is true/false; the fact of the matter is that most of your arguments center ‘round the heart, NOT the head. Instead of trying to prove a point, aim to flatter and soften your parents with love and affection. They may be swayed when you tell them "I'll love them no matter what you decide, but I would really, really  like you to trust me on this one."

Fail #3: Slamming doors throughout the house. When your dad forbids you from going to Senior Prom with Super Handsome Clark based on the groundless logic that you’re only a freshman and he's 18, don’t give into your body’s heated reaction. Instinctively, you’ll want to slam the door to your room, slam the door to your brother's room, slam the door to the front of the house, and then run into the bathroom sobbing and slamming the door while shouting "I. HATE. YOU. SO. MUCH." between slams. Bad idea. Instead, calm yourself down and count backwards. Try saying something like, “Well if you think that’s fair…”, or “I can kind of see your point…” This will ease the tension of the situation, while at the same time keeping the conversation open. Who knows? Maybe you can convince them to see your point of view (but this is much more likely to happen if all of the doors in the house are still on their hinges).

Fail #4: Continually whimper and whine. Do you want some cheese with that whine? Well that’s too bad, because you’re certainly not going to get anything from your parents if you keep making those terribly annoying noises and over-the-top pouty faces. While your parents may eventually respond to your childish behavior with an “ALRIGHT ALREADY, FINE”, you should know that you're not getting the “good” type of parental approval. You've pushed them to their limits and they gave in to your demands. When that happens, everybody is a loose canon, and they could go back on their word at any second (or use the situation against in the future to remind you of how immature you are.) We’re just giving you a fair warning!

Fail #5: Keep beating a dead horse. When you can drop the subject and “let it lie,” as they say, you’re showing your parents that you are a rational, smart teenager with a good head on your shoulders. If you can resist the urge to continually re-hash old argments, there is a greater chance that your parents may come to change their minds on their own. When you astound them with a higher level of maturity, they tend to re-think their decision and might say to themselves, “Hey, maybe my daughter really does deserve a later curfew. I’ve never seen her handle herself with such poise!”

Fail #6: Bad Body Language. Parents aren't into eyerolling. They don't care for exasperated sighs or extreme hand gestures (especially those including middle fingers), either. Let's keep it classy, people!

Fail #7: Divorcing them. Don’t call your lawyer just yet—emancipation from your parents doesn’t seem to end well, particularly for Hollywood stars like the Twitter-crazy Amanda Bynes and the emaciated Macaulay Culkin. Try and find a way to peacefully co-exist, at least until you go off to college.

When you fight with your parents, how do you get what you want? What tactics generally earn you the WORST results?

Topics: Life
Tags: parents, guides, family, persuasion, arguments, how to, dos and don'ts, debates, logic, fighting with your parents, getting what you want

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About the Author
Sissy

Sissy is a woman/girl who lives, works and eats too much popcorn on the north side of Chicago. Bet you couldn't guess that her real name is actually not Sissy, but it's what her family likes to call her by. Also, She's loud and is very glad you can't hear her.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.

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