Parenting Teens: 3 Mistakes Parents Make
It is important to adjust your parenting style to support your teen’s natural desire to grow into an independent self.
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Do you want to respectfully resolve conflict and improve your relationship with your teens but don’t know how?
Is your family trying to cope with changes to the family unit due to divorce, blending families, or navigating the challenges that come with adolescents?
Are you trying to be the best parent you can be but feel like you are falling short?
Are you and your partner finding it hard to agree on how to approach parenting?
Are you considering family therapy?
I often ask "Which is more difficult - being a teenager or being the parent of a teenager?" The answer is both can be challenging. Adolescents can be the most difficult time in your relationship with your children. Teenagers question rules and challenge your logic at times. This is a natural stage of development they are in and it can be very frustrating.
You may find that trying to get your teen to participate in household chores, do their homework, or get off of social media leads to arguments and power struggles. Your relationship may feel strained and you don’t know how to fix it.
Your family may have the added challenges of going through a divorce, blending families, or develop a good stepparent relationship. You and your partner may have different parenting styles and can’t seem to get on the same page with how to approach situations with your teen. Everyone in the family may be feeling stress from the demands of work, school pressures, financial worries, extra-curricular activity schedules and have few opportunities to spend quality time together.
Having a good family therapist that will support you and your teen in learning more productive ways to approach conflict can help get the family back on track.
One of the best ways to maintain a good relationship with your teen is to be able to communicate well with them. Teens want to express their opinions and have a say in things that affect them. If they don’t feel heard and believe what they say matters, they will likely shut down or say what they think you want to here.
For parents, there is a balance required to be able to convey expectations or concerns and to be open to hearing your teen’s perspective. This requires everyone to learn the most important communication skill there is. The ability to be a good listener. A good listener doesn’t listen to hear. A good listener listens to understand. Understand what is important to your teen and what their needs are. For your teen to understand what is important to you.
Learning how to create healthy boundaries, deal with differences in a respectful manner, and most importantly, communicate in an open and trusting way that strengthens your relationship and the family unit.
When we meet, know that your family concerns will be met with compassion and empathy. We will explore where things are breaking down or are not working. We’ll look for root causes of your issues, and then we’ll search for answers and appropriate interventions.
I can teach you and the family a new way of communicating. One that will contain reactivity, increase mutual understanding, and repair connections. I will teach you a simple process that will allow you and your teen to have meaningful conversations about issues that are important to you and your teen.
For parents, the goal of our work together will be to gain an understanding of the changes your teen may be going through and what needs are trying to be met by their behavior. We will also explore what your teen may be triggering in you that is beneficial for your own growth. When you have these insights, the path to improving communication and preserving your relationships will become clearer.
For your teens, I will focus on building trust and rapport with them. Explore their frustrations and help them understand more of what may be going on in family situations, what aspects are theirs to own, and how they can approach situations more effectively.
Once I feel like both of you are on the path of being able to see your relationship and the challenges more objectively, we will move in to having family sessions that will focus on the two of you in dialogue with each other talking about the issues that are important to you using the Imago Dialogue process and me supporting and guiding the two of you through the whole session.
In a short amount of time, you will learn how to use these tools at home. I am always available if you run in to trouble.
While therapy can be very helpful for teenagers, it is common for some to not be interested. For one, they may already feel like ‘the problem’ and don’t want another adult to point that out to them. Even though that is not what would actually happen.
You coming in alone to learn how to improve your relationship and communication will be very helpful for you and your family. Sometimes, when teens see how their parents are benefitting from therapy, they may be more willing to come in themselves.
Feel free to contact me for a free 20-minute consult to talk about how I may be of service to your family.
Darleen has been more than a therapist for me. She has been a savior. Her gentle and caring style allowed me to connect with myself in ways that other therapists never could do before. I am a better person, husband and father because of her help. I also have realized that I have it in me to be more and learn from mistakes. She saved my marriage and my life.