Exploring Parenting Challenges by Age: Teenagers
The teenage years (ages 13 to 18) can present numerous challenges for parents, so if you’re struggling, just remember that you’re not alone. Below are some examples of issues that parents commonly face with their teens, as well as advice for how to handle these situations:
- Romantic relationships – It’s common for children to enter their first romantic relationships during their teen years. If your views clash—for example, if you don’t agree with them about who they’re dating, the clothes and makeup they’re wearing, when they need to be home, and whether they can drive—it can lead to arguments. While you should certainly make your expectations clear, try to be open-minded and nonjudgmental, since doing so will make your teen more likely to open up to you.
- Substance use – Many people are offered alcohol and drugs for the first time when they’re teenagers, so it’s important that you proactively talk to your child about substance use. Provide them with clear rules, explain your reasoning, and discuss what the consequences will be for not following those rules. Also be sure to let them know that they can always use you as an excuse if they ever get offered alcohol or drugs and don’t know what to say.
- Moodiness – Does your teen seem to be in a perpetually bad mood? There’s actually a science-backed explanation for it—our brains go through many changes during puberty, and the resulting lack of impulse control can make us more likely to express emotions without thinking about them logically beforehand. Keeping this in mind, as well as thinking back to your own teenage years, can help keep you from overreacting the next time your child cops an attitude.
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As was noted above, if the teenage years have made it difficult for you to manage your child’s behavior, you’re not alone. Many parents struggle with effective parenting when their children reach this age. One of the best things you can do is speak to a therapist who can offer advice that’s tailored to your specific situation. Contact us today to schedule a therapy session.