Adolescent Parenting Issues
Adolescence brings new discipline challenges to parents due to the developmental urge for teens to begin the process of pulling away from their mothers and fathers, embracing their peers to a more significant degree, and trying on new behaviors that involve novelty and, at times, risk. Teenagers’ push for independence along with their expressing beliefs and preferences that often run counter to those of their parents often leave the latter feeling disoriented, somewhat emotionally abandoned, and upset. Parents typically respond by anxious hovering and questioning, which adolescents experience as intrusive, and react to scornfully or angrily. Parents, in turn, feel put down by their seemingly entitled children whom they feel are calling all the shots. The trick for parents is to find the balance between giving their teens wide enough berth to undertake the necessary developmental task of pushing away and finding their own voice, while more broadly insisting on behavior that will keep them respectful, responsible, and above all, safe. Therapy sessions provide an emotionally safe place for parents and teens to resolve their respective upsets non-reactively, with a focus on repairing communication styles and working through issues involving the dual needs of teen independence and parental limit-setting.