R E L A T I O N S H I P S:
Authority Figures


Conflict Resolution Strategies for teens and authority figures: There are bound to be conflicts between you and your teacher, coach, or your boss at work. It is very important that you learn to express yourself in ways that will be taken seriously while showing respect for a person in authority. Of course you don't want to be a "kiss up," but you may find that if you are tactful and careful with your words people will respond to you better, and you are more likely to get what you want and need.

The same ground rules apply (check the Conflict Resolution "ToolKit") if you want to resolve a conflict with an authority figure or with your little brother! Everyone wants to feel respected and listened to, so treat them the way you want to be treated. It's really very simple: when you are not upset or out of control, ask to speak to your teacher, employer, or coach. Ask them if you may tell your side of the story, and then let them tell theirs. Make sure you are listening to the other person and that they are really listening to you. If this doesn't work, try writing a letter to your boss, teacher,or coach, stating your position, what your part in the conflict is, what you will do differently next time, and what you would like to see happen in the future. Try to make the letter non-threatening, and non-judgmental without watering down your point! So instead of blaming your boss for how he always takes advantage of you, you could say that you feel like he doesn't value you when he asks you to leave early every Saturday afternoon and wash his car. "I feel" statements work a lot better than accusations!

I Get Really Nervous Whenever I Talk to My Boss

It's your second week on the job and you just got called into the boss' office. An icy feeling of dread creeps over you. Adrenalin starts pumping, your hands are clammy, your heart's racing... "Ohmigod! What did I do wrong?"

Ever wonder why sometimes it's so scary to talk to a person in authority? What are you afraid of? Authority figures have some sort of power over you, and what these people say or do might have a long term affect on your future (your boss could fire you, your teacher could give you a bad grade, your coach could cut you from the team, etc.). In your mind, this translates to a possible threat to your well being, or even your very "survival." Whenever you perceive any type of threat, fear or anxiety is a normal reaction.

So, how can you deal with these feelings without coming off like a scared rabbit in front of an AF (authority figure)?

What to do:


Remember that it is important to question authority but that you have to be careful how you do it!


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