Teenager Parent Relationship: How to Build a Healthy Relationship
Written by Christie Hopkins
As any parent will know — or at least will have been warned — a child’s teenage years can be some of the toughest. It can be particularly hard if their parents are divorced or separated.
A whirlwind combination of puberty, hormones, high school years, and the growing need for independence can be a challenge for any parent. In a household with a teenager, every day can seem like a battle — sometimes over the smallest things. As a parent, you want to be able to love and guide your child like you always have, but you need to understand that just as they’re changing, your relationship with them needs to change as well. These are some of the most formative years of their lives, so it’s good for them to know that their parents are there for them, and are willing to realize that they have a young adult who deserves their respect and guidance.
The Benefits of Positive Parenting
As a parent, you’ve no doubt looked out for your child through all their early years. Now that they’re an adolescent, they crave independence and the freedom to make their own choices. “As our kids grow into teenagers, they gain a great deal of independence,” says Planned Parenthood. “That’s a normal and natural part of growing up. But even as they increase their independence, we need to keep our relationships as close to them as we did when they were small children. They still need us to love, guide, and have fun with them.”
As much as your teen wants to control his or her own life, you as a parent need to project some measure of guidance and authority. Although a teen may be convinced that they know everything there is to know and that they’re old enough to make their own decisions, a lack of life experience can hinder them from making the right decisions. This ties into the fear of any parent: that their teen will begin moving toward harmful behaviors.
Teenagers tend to experiment with their own boundaries and experiences, and they can be especially susceptible to peer pressure. Although you can’t be around every hour of every day to monitor your teen’s behavior, you can act as an authority figure, as well as someone to talk to and confide in. You just have to be sure you’re communicating to your teen that you’re present, and that any concerns you have are borne out of love and for their own benefit.