When we were children, our parents made decisions for us. During adolescence, we start to develop our own opinions, ideas and preferences and make many of our own choices and decisions, not always the right ones! But this is how we learn and grow.

We begin to test our opinions, limits and responsibilities, sometimes without even knowing it. It is all part of the adolescence phase of taking control and understanding our responsibilities. While we are testing all of these new experiences and choices, we may find ourselves in arguments and conflict with those around us!

These arguments may center on our bedtime, chores at home, school results, the clothes we wear, the activities we do, and the friends we hang out with. This is ok because others have to learn to adjust to our new way of being too! 

However difficult this time of tension and arguing sometimes may be, it can also help us all in taking the next step. It can lead to new insights and breakthroughs. After all, we have to agree on things and find a new balance together. All families go through rough times and in most cases, families get through this phase just fine.

Pressure and expectations

In this same period, we can experience pressure from people around us as well. This pressure might be about who we are, what we achieve, what we look like or how we behave.

We may experience pressure from:

(Social) Media

A common form of pressure is performance pressure. It is the pressure that people feel to live up to standards, demands or expectations. It is very common among youngsters to experience this about their school performances. You feel the need to do well in school and not disappoint ourselves or the people around us.

Peer pressure is feeling pressure to do or say something to be liked or to fit in. You do or say something because someone tells you to. You may also just feel an unspoken expectation to do something, or you do it to avoid the unwelcome consequence of not doing something.

What can I do when arguing or experiencing pressure from others?

All of the mentioned changes in adolescence, and the related tension and arguments, are normal. These adjustments take some time. In the meantime, there are things both parties can do to make this adjustment easier.

Things you can try in case of an argument or experiencing pressure: 

You need to:

  • Talk to others to make sure you stay connected to each other.
  • Share your thoughts, feelings and worries.
  • Take a time out, walk away and calm down when things get too heated. Go for a walk, listen to music, talk to a friend or do something creative: like drawing, writing, painting, dancing. It will help you to relax and think calmly.
  • Show respect to yourself and to others. This means you have to keep your own boundaries and values in mind, and accept it when others do the same.
  • Listen to others. You both deserve to be heard. Take time to speak your mind and take time to listen to your parents or friends when it is their turn to speak.
  • Search for solutions together; is there a solution everybody can agree upon?
  • See things from the other person’s perspective as well. For instance, when you argue with your parents, they are often just worried and want what’s best for you.
  • Make up after an argument. Sometimes we don’t want to admit it, but we are sorry. Maybe not for our point of view but for upsetting each other. Try to apologize for your part of the argument or disagreement.
  • Move on when you have made up. Forgive each other and try not to dig up the past too much.