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Why Adolescents Can Become Harder to Teach than Children

3 Things You Can Do to Connect With Your Teen

March 5, 2016 | NW Family Staff


Let’s face it, adolescents are at a completely different developmental stage than children. This can pose many challenges to both parents and teachers. In reviewing this article, many things ring true with my own experience with parenting two teenage boys, as well as my counseling practice with teens. As the author states, children tend to desire attachment from their caregivers, while adolescents desire detachment.

I have found that the esteem children experience depends a great deal on the praise and guidance they receive from the parents, teachers, and coaches. This seems to work pretty well until they reach the “I’ve got this” adolescent stage and begin distancing themselves from the support they received in childhood. All too often parents see this transition as rebellion and begin to place strict limits on their teen’s time and choices.

I wish this was the silver bullet to teen angst, but it often backfires over time. Adolescent are going through so much change …growth spurts, puberty, reverse in priorities, challenges maintaining focus and good study habits, peer pressure, etc. Instead of focusing on grades, appearance, popularity, video games, social media, and yes, experimentation with alcohol, drugs, and sex take center state. This is the time parents call me and say HELP!

While this can be a tough transition, I have learned over the years there are several parenting and teaching approaches that can help.

One is to shift your parenting style to more of a democratic one. Adolescents want to participate in the decision making process regarding how they spend their time and the choices they make with academic study, sports, friends, etc.

Second, I have found that parents who learn how to join their teen’s world (e.g., video games, social media, music, sports, etc.) have more success in maintaining a close and healthy bond then parents who maintain separate lifestyles.

Third, letting consequences do the teaching is critical for launching your teen’s independence, this is demonstrated through clear boundaries and follow through.

All three of these steps can be integrated into your parenting style and I would love to share my insight and guidance with you and your teen. Don’t give up. You will get through this!

Contact us today to schedule your initial appointment for help on teen guidance counseling.

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