Raychelle Cassada Lohmann Ph.D.

Teen Angst

Teens and Parents: A Battle of the Wills

Raising a teen… what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Posted Feb 06, 2014

Battle of the wills…

In one corner you have the parent coming in with vast years of experience and knowledge and in the other corner you have a teen coming in with a little more than a decade of worldly wisdom. Don't underestimate the teen's power though… by using "I'll wear you down" and "dig my heels in" tactics the teen can quickly overthrow the opponent, aka the parent. What do you do when your teen is running the show? Do you submit to the quest for autonomy or stand your ground?

As teens march toward autonomy they may express less affection toward family members, and spend daunting amounts of time with friends or online via texting, IMing, or posting on social media sites. Things such as appearance, social acceptance, and fitting in become increasingly important; for many, these things become a basic necessity of life. Emotionally, teens may be stuck in between being a child and a young adult, which leads to 100% pure awkwardness.    

Rest assured, a teen's quest to become autonomous and independent is a perfectly normal part of adolescent development. Although you may get a few gray hairs in the process, your teen's rejection and questioning authority is helping him or her grow into a young adult. So, rather than plucking your gray hairs or transforming into a Tasmanian devil, feel confident that your teen is simply trying to get a sense of who he or she is and how to fit into this big bold world.

So if you are the parent of a teen, you know how difficult it is to find the perfect balance. When you received your little bundle of joy over a decade ago, you probably didn’t know that you would have to become a professional juggler, multi-tasker, authority figure and mediator all wrapped up into one! Parenting is not an easy feat! So, pat yourself on the back if you're raising a teen today, because regardless of what the job market says, parenting is one of the most underpaid, overworked, stressful yet most rewarding jobs hands down. It's a privilege to help prepare our children for leaving the nest; to equip them with all that we can so they can begin their journey.

So no more plucking gray hairs (you know only 10 more will grow back in its place) rather congratulate yourself for surviving this stage… And not to sound too clichéish, but Kelly Clarkson sings it best with her song "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Here's a toast to raising a glorious, autonomous, independent and yes, let's not forget assertive teen.

Parents please share your thoughts, comments, words of wisdom, and support for all other parents in the same boat as you. Teens, this one's for you too. Feel free to offer parents some of your own advice about raising a teen.