PARENTS OF TEENS
YIKES! How do you do it? They are sassy and morose; self-absorbed and ready to change the world; texting on the phone all day and night, but just grunting when you speak to them. Teens are a firestorm of volatile emotions and hormones. Their bodies are changing, their friends are changing, their grades are changing, and they never want to come out of their rooms. They expect you to understand what is going on with them, but don't want to have to explain it to you. If you have any energy left at the end of the day it is a miracle! Parenting a teen in Los Angeles can be exhausting and confusing. Maybe you are trying to avoid bootcamp for your teenager, or maybe you are just curious about how to communicate so they will listen and understand you. In any case, it is normal for your relationship with your child to change dramatically when they become a teenager.
Why Can't I Understand My Teenager?
Recent research has shown that teen brains are, in fact, different from our own. Teens are programmed to separate from their parents, follow their peer group, and find new ways of doing "old' things. And on top of that, their prefrontal cortex, the part of their brain that controls smart decision-making, is not fully connected yet. Teens are biologically programmed to annoy their parents!
But there is Hope!
You can learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety in your teen, and ways you can support them in managing their moods. You can learn how to help them build healthy self esteem and body image. You can learn how to communicate with your teen so they will hear what you are saying, and so they will want to tell you what they are thinking and feeling. You can improve your relationship with your teen, feel better about yourself as a parent, and give your teen the support they need to thrive and grow during these turbulent times!
I enjoy working with parents of teens in Los Angeles because it is so rewarding to see how a few small changes can often lead to much more meaningful relationships between parents and teens. In all the years I have worked with teens, I have never met one who didn't desperately want their parent to understand them. When parents and teens do the hard work of trying to communicate more effectively, the rewards are huge!
What about MY life?
Being a parent is so physically and emotionally draining that often we have let go of many other important aspects of our lives for months and even years. When kids are in high school is often the time when parents begin to ask themselves, "Who am I when I'm not a parent?", and "Who are we as a couple?". Many parents need to learn healthy ways to co parent with their ex. These new roles need to be re-defined, and that can be a task that requires some counseling to aid in sorting everything out.
My clients often begin by working on communication with their teen, and move into redefining who they are now and who they want to be in the future. Being a parent of a teen can start out rough, but can also be the impetus to reexamine your life, clarify your goals, and choose a life that will bring you great meaning and joy!