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Encouraging Independence in Your Teen

“I can do this on my own!”  “I don’t need any help!”  “Quit treating me like a child!”  How do you respond to statements like these from your teenager?  Do they upset you, or do you see these as signs of a necessary process taking place?

Rather than viewing such words as a slap in the face from an ungrateful or rebellious child, I encourage you instead to view them as signs that your training is working and that your child is getting ready for adulthood. I’m not saying that anything goes as far as allowing disrespectful words or a really bad attitude, but we need understand that these statements are not inherently rebellious. Look behind the words to what is really going on; it may be that you are holding on too tightly and not giving them enough opportunity to assume responsibility. Continue reading “Encouraging Independence in Your Teen”


When Teens Reject Their Parents

We want our children to become independent; to be able to take control of their own lives. A natural and essential part of that maturing process is to make choices for themselves. Every decision they make is another step along the path from total dependence at birth to maturity and independence when they leave home. But their choices won’t always be in line with ours; and that’s when we can feel rejected.

Not every choice teenagers make will seem “right” to their parents. But there is a process they go through to establish their own beliefs, and that often includes rejecting our beliefs, and even us, for a time. So, when they make a choice with which we don’t agree, we have two options.  We can step in and assert control over them (treating them like a child again), or we can work through the process with them; taking time to understand why they made the choice they did. I suggest you do the latter.  Let me give you some tips to help you work with your teen through this sometimes painful process. Continue reading “When Teens Reject Their Parents”


Is My Teen’s Behavior Normal?

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The culture has changed, but teenagers haven’t.  They are still focused on trying to fit in with their peers and to make sense out of life.  But parents can get confused by their changes in attitude and the independence they seek, assuming their teenager is becoming rebellious.

It’s normal for teenagers to fail to do their chores without ten reminders, to put off their homework, to be emotional, to lose important things, to like music that is too loud, and to sometimes counter or question authority.  That’s all pretty typical, though it can be aggravating to parents.

To compare, let’s look at what’s abnormal . . . sudden profound changes in personality, angry outbursts of profanity, extreme disrespect for people and things, addictions, sudden failing grades, not sleeping or sleeping too much, extreme weight loss, eating disorders, self-harm, running away, or self-imposed isolation. Continue reading “Is My Teen’s Behavior Normal?”