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How to Become a Better Parent to Teens?

Children's relationship with their parents and families changes during adolescence, but they still need parental and family support as much as they did when they were small.

When they were young, your role was to guide and nurture them, but now you are finding that your relationship with your teen is evolving and becoming more equal.

You're not only a source of safety, security, emotional support, and care but also financial and practical help. Although their behavior might sometimes send an opposite message, they still indeed love you and want you to be involved in their life.

Adolescence can be a trying stage for your child since they are going through rapid physical and emotional changes. Young people are quite unsure about where they belong and are still trying to figure it out.

It is a stressful time for them also because of peer pressure.

During this time your family is a secure base for them where your teen finds support that will strengthen their resilience, confidence, optimism, and identity. Your family is a place where rules, boundaries, and standards of behavior will give your teen a sense of predictability, consistency, and safety. Having a close and supportive family relationship will protect your child against harmful behaviors such as alcohol and other drug abuse, as well as problems like depression or risky sexual behaviors.

Common potential childhood and teen behavioral problems have THREE general categories:

  • SOCIAL: problems with loneliness, withdrawal, school issues, loss of confidence, learning disorders, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, self-harming or suicide, theft, and criminal behavior.

  • DISCIPLINE: problems with recklessness, defiance, unstable behavior, selfishness, violent behavior, disruptive behavior, and deceitfulness.

  • EDUCATIONAL: problems with decreased learning ability, bullying, and academic performance.

Learn fresh parenting concepts from "Rethinking Challenging Kids -Where There's a Skill There's a Way" by Dr. Stuart Ablon.

Plus, here is Dr. Shefali Tsabary (with Vishen Lakhiani) giving us a broader and deeper perspective on "What is Great Parenting? Become a Better Parent."

Moreover, there are a number of KEY risk factors for problematic parent-teen relationships, such as:

1. Family factors

  • large families

  • family stress: working parents, fatigue, dissatisfaction with job, lack of time, household chores

  • violence within the home

  • trauma

  • child sexual abuse

2. Social/Environmental factors

  • depression in children associated with recent negative life events (e.g. job loss, bereavement, parental separation)

  • neglect and abandonment; children from foster homes (or adopted children)

  • people who have poor mental health are in higher risk to live in poverty & affected by unemployment, homelessness, imprisonment, & social isolation

3. Child factors

  • a disabled or chronically ill child

  • peer pressure

  • fragile emotional temperament of a child

  • clash in parenting style

  • difficult temperament of a child

  • undiagnosed developmental or psychological problem (e.g. autistic spectrum disorders & ADHD)

4. Parental factors

  • very tight parental control

  • over protection as a risk factor for childhood anxiety

  • family discord, especially disagreements on child rearing

  • marital conflict (divorce or separation)

  • a father's lack of involvement in the child’s upbringing

  • a mother's depression in pregnancy

  • a child's risk for secondary deficits of depression (being exposed to depression)

  • parent’s alcohol/drug abuse

  • re-marriage/second families

  • parental physical illness

It can be complex and challenging to get to the bottom of parent-child relationship issues because there might be a variety of underlying issues. The actual conflict may vary based upon individual families, culture, religion, attitudes, ethnicity, and available resources for the family.

Here are some insights from Julie Lythcott-Haims (a former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford) on "How to Raise Successful Kids - Without Over-parenting."

We just can't emphasize enough the importance of managing parent-child relationships, especially when children are in their teens. It is a huge challenge and parents need all the help, wisdom, and support they can get.

Are you almost at the end of your rope with your teen? JarvisHypnotherapy is here to offer professional help.


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