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Argument

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Read This Before Your Next Argument

Confessions from a teenager

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Fights and arguments between a parent and a child are inevitable. There’s always going to be some conflict or a misunderstanding, no matter how perfect the relationship is or the individuals involved are.

I’m 16, which is arguably when teenagers get the most “rebellious”, and I’ve have had many disagreements with my parents, that can perhaps attest to that. I’m a pretty hard worker with good grades so school was never a problem, but I remember arguing with my mum about going out with my friends, or about using my phone too much (your average teenager problems). When my parents don’t see eye to eye with me, I can’t help but feel really irritated, especially when they make things a bigger deal than they actually are- in my opinion. After some hot words and angry looks are exchanged, the tension usually simmers down after a day and we go on as we normally do. My mum and I are both similar in the way that we don’t hold grudges- once something has happened, we consider it done.

My mum and my sister got into an argument recently, and I couldn’t help listening to the indignant conversation between them (they were sitting right in front of me, so I actually couldn’t help listening!). Being completely neutral on the topic of discussion, as I listened to my sister speak, I realised how I sound when I am in her position. I felt hurt on my mum’s behalf and shocked at the way she spoke- that made me reflect on my own actions. We often talk too quickly without considering what the words we speak really mean and how they can affect the other individual.

For the first time, I could truly understand my mum’s perspective. I don’t know why it’s so difficult to respect your family as you would other people. The people I asked all pretty much agreed that it is much harder to apologise to a parent, than to one of your friends. Thinking about why this is, I have come up with a possible reason: our family is permanent. They will always be there for us, and that’s why we feel that we can treat them that way, and take them for granted. But friends are temporary; unlike family, they can move on to a new group of people, so we make a significantly higher effort to be kinder so that they’ll stick with us. If you have other ideas to answer the why to this question, please do write me a response- I am genuinely interested to hear your thoughts.

So this is my confession: I am way too disrespectful when I am trying to make my point to a family member. That was truly difficult for me to understand and write out, especially because I pride myself on being a polite and considerate person- which I definitely am, but probably more to those outside my family. What I saw made me come to the conclusion that while we might not always oblige, we can always speak obligingly.

Sometimes I think that when I say something in an argument it will be lost and forgotten. But the hurt will always be there. The point of this whole piece is to remind every other kid like me that our parents deserve to be treated with respect, no matter how right we are about a situation. Because they feel things too. And to the parents reading this, we hear what you say too and that imprints on us. All in all, the message for everyone is right in the title of this piece: think about every word that comes out of your mouth and how you are saying it. Poor communication leads to poor relationships, so the next time you’re in an argument (realistically speaking, conflict is always going to happen and we need to accept that) be conscious about the people involved and don’t blind yourself with anger or hatred- it’s not worth it.


Read This Before Your Next Argument was originally published in ILLUMINATION on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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