One day you’re reading bedtime stories and pushing them on the swings, the next they start to grow distant and listen to weird music. You may find yourself wondering where your little girl/boy went, and how to maneuver a relationship with this new version of them. These are some thoughts you may be having:
“They lack all sense of reason.”
There is certainly some science behind this, right? The teenage brain is not fully developed by any stretch of the imagination. While they seem perfectly capable of understanding concepts, they are still developing their prefrontal cortex. Believe it or not, this is actually a good thing! Because they are still forming their identities, too rigid of brain structure right out the gate would prevent openness to learning.
“I want them to come to me with anything.”
Identity formation often means pushing ourselves into new territory, figuring out what we want and who we are. A huge part of this process is leaning into new relationships and social supports outside of our parents. In a lot of circumstances, your teenager is going to want to go to friends first. Remain present for them should they ever want to talk, but try your hardest not to be too offended if they bide their time taking you up on that offer. It’s not personal! You are their parent, not their best friend.
“They just won’t listen!”
At one point, your teenager was a child who needed your help learning how to use a fork, tie their shoes, and make their bed. You have prepared them with so much! Now is time for them to begin to put to the test what they’ve learned from you. As a good parent, you want to be a sounding board and a safe place to come when they need help—but they are working toward being their own independent selves. They will gain self-confidence by maneuvering the decision-making process; and their mistakes are often what shapes them.
“I wish we could be close again.”
Time passes so quickly—it’s emotional to watch your baby grow up! I promise if you do it right by balancing loving support with helpful guidance, your teens will absolutely come back around in a relationship with you. This time as confident, well-rounded adults!
If you’d like some assistance with understanding your teen, I have a lot of experience and I’m happy to help. I can be reached at (317)682-8747 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.