Therapy Blog for Orem, Spanish Fork & South Jordan

Parenting: Understanding & Reconnecting With Your Teenager

Parenting: Understanding & Reconnecting With Your Teenager

If someone were to ask you, “What is one time in your life you would never revisit?”, what would you say? While the answers to this question are numerous, oftentimes the answer falls somewhere from ages 12 to 25. Why is it that people would never want to relive their adolescence? Maybe it is because of that mountain of homework your teachers gave you every week in middle school. Perhaps it is because of that first breakup that came before prom your junior year of high school. It might also be due to the embarrassment that came when you gave an answer in class and your voice cracked like you were Mickey Mouse! Whatever the reason, these formative years can be some of the most challenging and confusing times in a person’s life. (Related article: Parenting: How to Build Your Teen’s Self Esteem).parenting

Remembering some of the challenges that come with being a teenager is important when striving to understand and connect with your own teenager. Let’s face it, raising a teenager can be tough! It could be that your once-snuggly child has become as prickly as a desert cactus. As a parent, you may be subject to blows of the emotional ups and downs that are as unpredictable as they are real. You may be struggling to find common ground with your teen as they push further and further for freedom and independence. Here are some parenting tips that can help you as you work to understand and reconnect with your teens.

Normal Teenage Development

The Teenage Brain

Did you know that the part of the human brain that is responsible for decision-making isn’t fully developed until at least age 25? (Source). Almost everyone can remember something they did as a teenager that was not smart and made no sense. This does not mean that teenagers are not smart, but it does mean that they may lack the ability to fully grasp the outcomes of their choices. Keep this in mind next time your teen does something that seems unwise and remember that it’s not entirely their fault.


Every parent’s hope for their child is to live in their basement playing video games until they’re 50, right? Probably not. As it turns out, most teenagers don’t want that either. Most teenagers want more and more independence and it is completely normal for them to want this. If your teenager is suddenly more detached from you and wants to do things their way, that is actually a sign of normal development. 

In fact, around this age, friends often have a bigger influence on teen behaviors than parents (Source). This is all part of the launching process; the process by which teenagers are preparing to live on their own and “leave the nest.” While this stage is often difficult when it comes to parenting, recognize that it is a sign that your child is progressing normally and naturally toward becoming their own person.

Parenting: Connecting Through Their Interestsparenting

Even though you now understand how normal your teen’s behaviors are, that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of all rules and expectations for them. They are still minors and are living in your home, after all. If you are having trouble with your child listening to you, one way to help this is to try and reconnect (Related article: Looking for Parenting Advice? Maybe There’s a Different Way).

One way to do this is to show interest in their interests–especially if they seem silly and unimportant. When was the last time you played video games with your teen or listened to the newest Taylor Swift album? You don’t need to pretend to like these, but making the effort to understand them can go a long way when it comes to parenting. (More tips to connect with your teenager can be found here.)

Patience & Self-Care

While there is no exact science for perfectly understanding and connecting with your teenager, it is important to make sure that you still live your life as well. What does life look like for you once your child has grown up and moved out? That can be a difficult question worthy of an entirely different article.

Making sure that your emotional, physical, spiritual, and social needs are met will help you as you patiently help your teenager prepare for life as an adult. If the disconnect or rebellion from your teenager is causing great distress, anxiety, or depression, therapy can be a great way to gain additional support and insight. Individual, couples, and family therapies are all helpful options that can help make your child’s transition into adulthood easier for you and them.

Find Parenting Advice for Your Teens in Therapy

Still struggling to understand your teen? You don’t have to do it alone. In therapy, you can learn communication skills that can help you reconnect with your teenager, personalized for your specific needs. Find a therapist in Orem, South Jordan, or Spanish Fork.

Written by Ryan Anstead, LAMFT


Read more from Ryan Anstead, LAMFT:
Supporting Your Partner Through Depression | Supporting Your Partner Through Anxiety | Why Choose Family Therapy?

Lauren Adkins

Writer for the Center for Couples and Families


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