Loving Your Teenager through Push and Pull

I’m sure we all remember our own teenage years or perhaps some of us would rather forget them. The teenage years are a difficult time in virtually everyone’s life. It is a time where you go through great transition and transform from a child to an adult. Some of the struggles teens face during this time include: determining where they fit in, who they are, who they want to be, dealing with sexuality and learning to be responsible, while still having fun.

This transition period doesn’t only affect the teen but it also affects their parent(s). It’s a difficult time for parents because teens can be selfish, insensitive, lazy, demanding, etc. but also because parents themselves are transitioning. Parents are transitioning from the complete caregiver to a combination of guardian and spectator in their child’s life. This is a difficult adjustment, especially since teens will pick and choose when they need their parents, leaving parents wondering how and when they should jump in, or when they should encourage independence. This causes parents to feel pushed and pulled unexpectedly. “I need you to help me with this” or “I can handle it on my own” to “drive me here” or leave me alone.” Teens become more private about their lives and do not share many things like they once did. This leaves parents hoping that their teen is making the right decisions and trusting that they will come to them if they need help.
It is often helpful to remain mindful of why teenagers need to be this way, and to learn how to cope by giving your teen just enough space in order to manage this “push and pull” relationship. Both teens and sometimes their parents could benefit from developing healthy communication skills, trust, and ways to show care and concern during these difficult years. If you have taught your children well, you can rest assured that they will likely make wise choices, come to you for help if needed and/or know how to get themselves out of a sticky situation. It is difficult but children will only learn how to be adults if they are given the opportunity to try while still knowing that their parents are still behind them to assist or pick up the pieces as needed.
Our children grow up depending on us for nearly everything and that is a role that we often fall into with ease. This is because as humans we have the emotional desire to be needed and to please/help others. The truth is most parents just want their children to be safe and well taken care of but during the teenage years this point can be difficult to get across.

For more information or to schedule an appointment to develop you and your teen’s relationship, please contact us at 847-802-4058. Everyone needs a little support sometimes.

Written By Sarah Jones, LCPC

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