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Why Does My Teen Son Argue with Me?

Why does it seem like my son wants to argue with me so quickly? How can I handle these conversations well?

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

This is not uncommon, especially in the early and mid-teen years. There may be one or several reasons for your son’s newfound tendency to argue, including:

Reasons for Arguments with Your Teen Son

  • An increased desire and drive for independence, belonging, and clear identity. This may be complicated by strong emotional responses to the ebb and flow of life, self-consciousness, and intolerance for anything that strikes him as out of touch or clueless – especially coming from you as the parent.
  • Your son may be adopting attitudes and viewpoints of friends and social media that are at odds with yours. They might even be influenced by other adults, such as teachers, health care providers, counselors, or youth pastors.
  • You may be more focused on having your son conform to your “rules and regs” than on cultivating your relationship with him. It’s important to review the reasons for your house rules. Look beyond “Because I’m the parent, and you’re not.” Instead, explore negotiating in some areas and staying firm with other boundaries.
  • Are there frequent and intense arguments between parents or among other family members?  He may be duplicating familiar conversation patterns that he’s been observing at home.
  • Depression can show itself not only as sadness and loss of interest in school or other activities, but also as irritability, arguing, and angry outbursts.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse, including overt addiction, are commonly associated with escalating conflicts at home, among other negative behaviors such as withdrawal and lying.
  • It may be that your teen has a strong or leader personality that may be expressing itself more boldly. For some teens, conflict or challenging others can be quite stimulating for their brain and something that they pursue.
  • It may also be that your personalities are not mixing well. Are you a strong personality that does not listen well? Is there resentment that has built over time? If so, don’t be afraid to ask for help. 
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Helpful Resources and Next Steps

Take time to listen in order to understand more clearly what may be going on. Let your teen know that you would love to have healthy disagreements and seek a solution together on how your relationship and communication can improve.

The bulleted list can feel like an intimidating list, and it does not by any means cover all of the possible reasons for your son’s behavior.  For further input on a number of these topics check the links below or call 1-800-A-FAMILY (1-800-232-6459) to speak with one of Focus’ counselors for some guidance regarding your specific situation.

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