These Topics Are Definitely Going to Cause a Fight With Your Son

These Topics Are Definitely Going to Cause a Fight With Your Son


No one wants to fight with their kids. It is a terrible feeling that makes you feel like the bad parent you already fear yourself to be. But conflict is built into the very nature of the parent/child relationship. From the moment you bring them home from the hospital, they want to cry and load their diaper all night, while you just want to make it stop long enough for you to get some sleep. Though the issues change as they mature, the conflict, itself, doesn’t really go away until they are in their thirties, just like with your father, and his father before that. It is not a bad thing. It is just the nature of the beast.

But that doesn’t mean that the time you spend with your child will be characterized by unremitting misery. Quite the opposite. You will bond through your conflicts in ways you can hardly imagine right now. The conflict is necessary. Your child would grow up funny without them. They have to find their way in the world. And they also have to be guided every step of the way. There is tension between those two realities. Thus, the conflict.

It is a poor parenting choice to abdicate the responsibility to provide guidance at the expense of conflict avoidance. Your child will not thank you later. He will wonder why he is always in and out of jail, drug rehabs, and failed relationships. You will wonder where you went wrong. If your future self could send you a message, it would be to not flench away from the inevitable conflict regarding these topics:


Drugs and Alcohol

Tragically, so much of the conversation is about addiction and recovery. Don’t get me wrong. I’m ecstatic that addiction can be treated. Recovery is a family affair. Everyone has to own up to their part of the problem, and solution. This is a staple of traditional 12 step programs.

Many drug rehab programs have adopted those dynamic dozen lifestyle changes for drug addiction, and recovery of all types. It is not about placing blame and pointing fingers. It is about owning responsibility. As a 12 step-based young adult rehab clinic, Tuscon Transitional Living described a portion of their program:

The first workshop’s focus is surrender and the second workshop’s focus is sharing and amends. The entire family has an opportunity to address their behavior and responsibility in their relationship with each other.

These are positive things that can have a positive effect on the future prospects of an addict.

The unfortunate part is that so many young people get to this stage in the first place. Not enough emphasis is place on addiction prevention. That is where the hard talks come in. An attentive father is a child’s first, best hope for addiction prevention. Refusing to engage these conflict-riddled conversations early and often all but ensures that you will be engaging in the addiction recovery conversation somewhere down the road.

Respect for Females

Tragically, and all too often, boys grow up as men who do not understand the basic, scientific truth: There is no biological difference between males and females that makes one more or less worthy of respect. Every boy starts life as a girl. Every penis starts out as a clitoris. This is an unyielding, fundamental, biological, human fact.

It is important that this fact is taught. Otherwise, the only reasons for cross-gender respect we have to offer are cultural. But cultural opinions change over time. Your opinion about women is different from your father’s, and so on. Treating a female differently based on size, physical strength, or appearance/desirability is just plain wrong. We are them, and they are us. And we are all just going to have to square with that.

Star Trek Vs. Star Wars

Finally, how many conflicts are over things that just don’t matter in the grand scheme of things? Probably, most of them. Teaching your child the difference between the two may itself be a matter of conflict. It is important that we raise our children to hold their opinions loosely, and give others the freedom to hold different opinions without it being a point of conflict. How many wars could have been avoided?

They call it hard love for a reason. It’s hard. But it’s also love.

…And by the way, Star Wars, of course.


  1. Yup… been there. But these conversations are so important. And, the more you remind them of things, the more they absorb it. They really ARE listening… even if they roll their eyes at you!

  2. courtney b says

    aagghhhh I can’t wait for these topics with my son.. he’s only 2 right now so we’ve got a while, but always nice to get feedback early.

    Thank you Heather! xoxoxxo

  3. Sarah L says

    Makes me glad I don’t have kids. Very good points in your article.

  4. Nicole Dziedzic says

    Very important to talk to your kids about these topics, when I was growing up my parents never talked to us about any of these things, and I wish they would have, but now as a mom I can change that with my kids. Even at a young age it is important I think.

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