Teenagers: What's Normal?
The main work of adolescence in our culture is to become psychologically emancipated from the parents. The teenager must cast aside the dependent relationship of childhood and gain control of his life. This process is characterized by a certain amount of normal ambivalence, defiance, and rudeness. Emotions usually run high and mood swings are common. The following tips may help you get through this difficult period:
- First: Don't try to control your adolescent. Loosen up the reins. Give him as much independence as he can safely take. Don't stand in his way.
- Second: Don't take this phase too seriously or personally. Try to find the humor in it. Don't get sucked in.
- Third: Treat your teenager as an adult friend. Treat him the way you would like him to treat you when he's an adult. This means respect, support and having fun together. Keep trying to get relaxed conversations going, during shopping, driving, and especially mealtime. Validate your teen's feelings by listening carefully and respectfully. The friendship model is the best basis for family functioning.
- Fourth: Take pride in the times your teenager is independent and responsible. By 17 or 18, your work will be done.
If you have any questions about your teenager's behavior, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 9/1/2005
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.