Understanding Your Teen

“The two worlds, the one inhabited by the adult and the one by the teenager, can intersect in a way that can truly enliven and enlarge the perspective of both.”

~ Ellen Galinsky, The Six Stages of Parenthood

What’s fun about parenting a teen??? They criticize our every move, don’t want to be seen with us, are embarrassed by us, don’t want to spend time with us, would rather be with their friends than with us, and challenge our dearly-held values.  Just having them around us can batter our self-esteem! But despite the bad press teens get, they can be delightful, fun, passionate, and energetic, and bring new life and new perspectives to a family.  So, what can parents do to make day-to-day life with their teen a bit more enjoyable?

Understand Their World

We need to understand what our teens are going through. One of the tasks of adolescence is distinguishing themselves from their parents. Remember that separating, while sometimes hard for parents to take, is part of teens doing their job of growing up, maturing and finding out who they are. Their criticism of you is usually more about them becoming their own person than it is about you as an individual, so try not to take it to heart.

Continue to Share Your Values With Them

They may roll their eyes when you tell them what you think about things, but they really do care  Instead of rigidly imposing your values, look for ways to influence your teen, such as modeling the behavior you’d like them to emulate.  Pick some rules that you can let go of; hold firm to rules that reflect your core values (for example: safety, trustworthiness, etc.).

Being a teen is complicated, as is parenting a teen. But it doesn’t have to be all negative. Learn more about this intricate time in your child’s life by checking out articles about adolescence in our Resource Library on our website.

By Claire Gawinowicz
Certified Parenting Educator

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