Counselor Shelby Hall published an article through Focus on the Family describing a session with a frustrated mother who was sharing a heated conversation she had had with her teen. The mother finally said,¬†“I know I have to pick my battles; I just don’t know which ones to pick.”

“Her words reflect a common dilemma among the parents of teens,” Hall wrote. So how do parents pick the battles that will ultimately benefit their kids? Here are two principles Hall suggests that might provide some clarity:

1. Take time to understand the complexities of the teenage years. This will help you empathize with your teen when battles arise. Remember that constant changes, pressure to conform, anxiety about the future and personal insecurities can produce an enormous amount of stress. The teen years are some of the most difficult years to manage, and the battles at home are usually a direct reflection of a teen’s emotional state.

2. Prioritize the issues that are most important for your teen. Spouses should discuss which issues are non-negotiable, then communicate these expectations to their teen. Keep in mind that these issues will differ for every family. Although teens will still push the boundaries, pre-emptive communication will help defuse battles more quickly.

Want to learn more about which battles to pick, avoid and defer? Click HEREto read the full article.