Healthy Parent-Teen Relationships
Written by Cedar Ridge Academy,
in Section Behavioral Health
Struggles between Parents and Teens are Normal
Parents of teenagers or preteens should realize these normal struggles with fads, music and other efforts of independence occur in every family. Once they know that, they can relax more and worry less about how their children are “turning out”. Chances are they will be just fine, and the challenging teen will grow up to be a responsible adult.
In the early years of children’s lives, parents are the most important figures in their world. Their approval, love and support are critical to children. Consequently, much of what children do and say is aimed at maintaining that love and approval. As children get older and have more contact with people other than their parents, their behaviors and attitudes will be influenced by other people.
As teens establish independence, parents need to understand a number of points.
Parents are still the most important influence in their children’s lives.
Teens are trying to become adults. One of their greatest difficulties is becoming independent while maintaining a loving relationship with parents.
The teen’s struggle for independence becomes a real problem only when it is viewed by the teen and/or parents as a struggle for control.
Struggle for Control
When children are young, many parents maintain control over most aspects of their child’s life. These parents choose their child’s clothes, friends, hobbies and so on. As children grow older, they realize they can never grow into adults without having control of their lives. Consequently, teens begin to fight for control.
For teens, this struggle for adulthood is terribly risky because they risk losing the most important thing in their lives — the love of parents. At the same time, parents may feel rejected, hurt and anxious about teens’ abilities to care for themselves. Their struggle is stressful because everyone cares so greatly about each other.
It’s Not Just a Teenage Problem
Both parents and teenagers are experiencing change. There’s a growing belief among professionals who work with parents and teens that adult problems contribute equally with teen problems in making these years difficult between parents and children.
Upon entering middle age, many adults are asking themselves what they have done so far and what they want to do next. Some may be depressed by a sense that they have not achieved all they had hoped to personally or professionally. Others may be anxious that their children are growing up and leaving home and they are forced to answer “Now what?” In these situations, the rebellious teen may add to parents’ feelings of uncertainty about themselves. “Good” parents, after all, would not be having this struggle with their child, they think.
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