I have many years of experience in teen counseling and have spoken to many teens who not only have difficulty understanding and handling their own emotions but who also have a difficult time dealing with their parents during their turbulent adolescent years. I’ve also spoken to many parents who feel they can no longer communicate with children with whom they once had a close, loving bond. As children grow up and enter puberty, it is fairly common for them to clash with their parents or even to describe their feelings for their parents as hate. If your child has disconnected from you emotionally or displays animosity toward you, here are some things you can do to get your relationship back on track:
✓ Get Informed
While your teen may not want, or be able, to tell you what’s happening to them to make them angry, there are other ways you can learn more about teens and their behaviors. The internet contains a wealth of information about teen development and some of the common reasons that teens do what they do. You can also find books that can help, including The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide To Raising Adolescents And Young Adults by Frances E. Jensen, M.D., which is informative and easy to read. Getting informed means you’ll understand more about just how common problems are for kids in their teenage years and how important it is that you try not to shoulder all of the blame for what’s happening to your child.
✓ Remain Calm
Staying calm while your child is spinning through your life like an angry tornado is easier said than done because you have an emotional stake in their psychological well-being. Their anger can be contagious and you may find yourself becoming part of the problem if you lose control as well. Though you are a parent, you’re also human; and your feelings can be hurt if the child you love tells you they hate you. The best thing you can do, however, is to not respond immediately. Take a deep breath, count to three and think about what you’re going to say without tears or shouting. If you feel you won’t be able to stay calm, walk away until you can.
✓ Stay Strong
A strong parent isn’t one who feels they are always right and who strong-arms their children into doing what they want them to do. A strong parent is one who guides their children through childhood with sound advice, sensible boundaries and unconditional love. As a strong parent, you should try to see your teen’s problems or feelings from their perspective; and you must be prepared to admit when their negativity is merited, rather than just shouting them down. When you need help, consider teen counseling for your child or counseling for yourself to help you figure out how to be a strong parent.
What you must remember is that underneath all of their anger and hurtful words, your teen loves you and needs you. As a parent, you will, unfortunately, be the target of their anger because of your proximity and because you are their primary authority figure. At Insight Child & Family Counseling, we can help with teen counseling that will give your child an outlet for discussing their problems and finding ways to work with you to solve them. Call Insight Child & Family Counseling at (972) 426-9500 or visit www.ldscounselordfw.com.