As a teen therapist, I understand the challenge parents can face in parenting teens. There are biological changes that may have morphed your sweet child into an "anxy" teen.
Parenting a teen is a mix of heart, skill, intuition, patience, and let's add one more dose of patience! One of your main goals as a parent of a teen should be to understand their inner workings.
Parents have knowledge and experience on their side to help guide their teen through the complexities of adolescence. Teenagers may not view you as the "expert" on life however with patience and persistence, some of our life experience will rub off and help our teens.
Here are 3 tips that you may want to add to your teen parenting toolbox that can help you understand your teen:
1. Remember, Teens Are by Nature More Temperamental
Teens are more likely to use the hypothalamus, the part of their brain that controls emotions, than the part that contains logic and reason. Add face mask requirements from the COVID-19 pandemic, and teens have a higher chance of misinterpreting facial expressions. This combination can lead to significant misunderstandings and a resulting overflow of emotions.
Imagine a teen that is not allowed to attend an event such as homecoming, prom, a Quinceanera. This is not just an activity; it is an opportunity to participate in their current collective identity. These are also rites of passage for teenagers.
Not being able to go does not simply feel disappointing but life-altering. Empathize with your teen and refrain from being overly critical of their reactions. Try to be gentle with them when it seems they are overreacting, as they may not be doing so intentionally.
Additionally, by allowing them to express themselves, you refrain from unintentionally teaching them to avoid communicating their thoughts and feelings. Instead, seek clarification and encourage descriptions of their interpretation of a situation or event.
Responding this way will create a non-judgmental space for you and your teen.
2. Teens Are More Likely to Be Impulsive and Take Risks
There is conflicting data about whether impulsivity in teens is nature vs. nurture; yet, I think we can agree that teens are observed to be more impulsive and geared to risk-taking behavior than younger children or adults. Teens spend more time away from parental supervision; thus, they have the opportunity to problem-solve based on their limited life experiences.
Think of adolescence as a trial and error period. They are trying to figure out many things, both short-term and long-term, so their decisions can sometimes appear to be impulsive.
Sometimes, impulsivity can also lead to unnecessary confrontations and feeling let down by the results of the activities they thought would bring positive changes to their lives.
Try to take an alternate perspective. Risk-taking can make our world a better place, as we see younger generations being more creative and taking risks both socially and financially.
3. Guide & Educate Your Teen & Provide a Space for Communication
Guide your teen on how to balance between risk and safety. Educate them about natural consequences and the possibilities of their actions.
A simple way to do this is by encouraging comparisons. By encouraging them to make comparisons, you can help your teen discover solutions to their problems.
Your teen undergoes many changes during this stage of their life. Take every opportunity to validate their emotions. Be a sounding board for your teen when they need someone to talk to as they navigate adolescence.
Doing this will help provide a strong sense of support and establish a firm foundation for their adult years.
Teen Therapy & Family Counseling: Katy Teen & Family Counseling
At our Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we have a combined 70+ years in combined experience. We provide individual teen therapy, family counseling, and group therapy to help our teens.
Parenting teens can be challenging. Teens today experience higher levels of stress and pressures than teens before. Teen anxiety, social anxiety, panic attacks, depression, ADHD/ADD, continue to be on the rise. This can impact not only the teens relationship with themselves but with those who also love them.
Katy Teen & Family Counseling is easy to get to and is conveniently located just off of 99 and I-10.
If you are ready to start teen counseling, family therapy, or group therapy, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:
Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling
Start your journey in realizing your full potential
Other Therapy and Counseling Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling
At our Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we use therapy and counseling approaches that are supported by research. These approaches have been shown to work in the shortest amount of time.
We also offer the following therapy and counseling services:
Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)
Peak performance (optimal athletic brain performance)
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)
Group Therapy for Teens
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
About the Author
Jheri has been providing therapy to teens, young adults, and families since 2009. She enjoys using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) due to it's effectiveness with teens and young adults.
Jheri is also a supervisor providing mentoring and supervision to up and coming therapists. She has taken ownership to ensure the new therapists are therapists highly trained and qualified to provide therapy to others.
Jheri also has a unique understanding of some of the challenges teens and young adults face who are bi-racial. Identity, acceptance, and embracing a mixed heritage are some of the challenges she helps teens and young adults manage.