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Parenting Your Teenager with Love and Support

by Dore Frances, IEC, founder of Horizon Family Solutions, LLC
You find yourself begging your teenager to go places with the family.

As soon as your teen gets into the car with you, they begin complaining about you or their life, and how miserable everything in their world is. In just a few minutes of being within the same five-foot radius of one another, the two of you are already in an argument. There may have been times you regretted asking your teenager to join you on your daily activities.

No matter where you go, or what you do, your teen seems to find something to complain about. You are purchasing the wrong items, the whole trip is “so ridiculous,” you are just the worst parent ever, and they hate their life!

You were always able to get along and had so much fun when you went out together, no matter what the activity was. Now you have to deal with an obstinate, argumentative and rebellious teenager.

No matter what you do or how hard you try, you are unable to connect on any level with your child.

You find yourself asking what you did wrong, where did your sweet baby go, and where did this hostile teenager come from?

Instead of getting frustrated or angry, remember that teens everywhere believe their life is just a depressing, revolting state of time and they wish everything from their parents, to their friends, to their clothes, to their body, was different. Teenagers begin to reject all the things they relate to their childhood and being a child.

They no longer want you to do things for them, or to be at their sports events.

They stop following your advice because, in their mind, that would be the same as still being a child and not a growing adult.

Your teenager's emotions will go up and down constantly while they are learning to be more independent and are trying to discover and recognize their individual personality.

Where is your teenager today, and where do you want them to be when they graduate high school? Think for a minute about this tremendous change. Reflect on all the various areas in which they will have to gain experience, and the decisions that they will have to learn to make. Your adolescent will have to learn everything from washing clothes to earning a living to handling personal relationships.

They will have to decide if they will go to college, what their field of study will be, what profession they want to pursue, and which college to go to.

They will get a driver's license, and will start going their own way instead of going along with the rest of the family. In order to build a good relationship with your teenager, you need to realize these emotional changes your teen is going through. Give your teenager more and more responsibility and allow them to make more and more decisions about their life. Give them enough space to develop, while standing by to help.

Instead of telling your child what to do and expect them to listen, you will have a better relationship with your teenager when you change to a more management-like approach to parenting your teenager.

5 ways to build a better relationship with your teenager during this difficult time:

  • Treat your teenager like the individual they are
  • Ask your teen's opinion first
  • Don't judge or elaborate on your teen's failures. Instead, help your teenager to resolve problems
  • Take time to listen
  • Stay active in your teen's life
During this time of extreme insecurity, it is very important to show your teenager love and support. Your support lessens the chances that they will make a mistake.

Even when your teen does have a lapse in judgment, they will come to you before any part of the situation gets worse - when your teenager knows that you care and are ready to listen without judgment.

A teenager who is confident in your support will think situations through more clearly, be less prone to any form of peer pressure, and will therefore get into less trouble than a teenager who feels that they must deal with everything on their own. As parents, we need to be there for our teenagers when they fail or make a wrong choice.

We need to be careful not to underestimate our teenager and, at the same time, not to ask too much of them too soon, thus discouraging our teen from making decisions. We need to encourage and support our teenagers, and teach them that what they do will affect their future life.

Dore Frances, IEC, is an educcational consultant, childs right advocate, parent coach, specializing in working with troubled teens and their families in the United States, Canda, and abroad. See her site at: or contact her by phone at:(541) 312-4422, or email
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Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.


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