The next time you and your teen have an argument on a school night, take the opportunity to check-in on what’s happened for your child during the school day. Chances are they’ve already had a war of words with friends before arriving home.
A new study has found that that adolescents have more arguments with parents and other family members on days they’ve had conflict with peers, and vice versa.
The research, published in the September–October edition of the journal Child Development, also found that the spill-over affect of family fights lasted longer than school fights. Family conflict spilled over into peer relationships for up to two days after, while peer conflict influenced arguments at home just until the following day.
“Every parent of a teen knows these years can get a little emotional,” said Andrew Fuligni, a UCLA professor of psychiatry and one of the authors of the study.
“Adolescents tend to respond with more extreme and negative emotions than do pre-adolescents or adults, probably because it’s the time in their lives when they are experiencing multiple transitions that might be stressful.” Andrew cited such things as puberty, dating and changing schools as examples of situations that cause stress for teenagers.
It also seems girls are more affected by family arguments than teenage boys. The study found that on days when teenagers argued with parents or other family members, girls experienced more peer conflict than boys.
While it might be difficult to not engage in an argument if your teenager begins the conflict, it might help to ask them if they’ve had a bad day at school with friends.