When our children reach their teen years, they can become defiant and seem to be working against us. Why is this? Because they are trying to search out who they are, and in the process, their perception of you tends to change. This can be the hardest part; a once loving and rather obedient child transforming into someone who could care less about you. It is easy to feel defensive and respond to their remarks with anger or hostility, but this only creates more distance from you. It is during these times, when we are faced with what feels like a very different child, that we have to perceive them for where they really are right now.

It is not that they hate us so much as they are confused. Imagine that they do not really want to dislike us or cause us harm so much as they do not know how to really be. Now, it is not our place to try to control them or change their behavior, as it is more helpful to help them instead. This may seem impossible if they want nothing to do with you, but it can be done. For what they really need is help and understanding at a time when they are trying so hard to figure everything out. They may look at you differently because they are looking at everything differently, and nothing seems the same.

They are changing in so many ways, and they are trying to find what feels like them or what they think they should be. A lot of experimenting and attention is given to themselves, when they used to not even notice themselves at all. It is an awkward place for them, and is made worse by the overbearing and controlling parent. As a parent, it is important to overlook the anger and obtuse behavior and remember they are still your child. Who they were as a child has not disappeared; they are only changing. As they try to figure things out for themselves, they are also burying their adolescence and their perception of you from that time. That is why, as a parent, our role needs to change with the ever-changing teenager.

We cannot hold onto them, control them, or keep them a certain way. We need to be open, accepting, and there for them when they need us. If we respond with anger or resentment at all, then we are closing a door and showing them we do not accept them for who they are becoming. This, more than anything, hurts them the most, for they do not know who they are and are just trying to figure it out. If we claim we don’t like it, how do you think this makes them feel? They need acceptance more than anything at this phase; they need a parent who is there for them when they need it. They will come if we keep the door open and let them choose the time. Do not force or try to control where they are. The more open you are, the easier it is for their perception of you to regain its footing and connect with you again.

Expect shifts in how they see you and the world, for it is all part of them maturing and growing up. Expect challenges, but do not create struggles by reacting in ways that will push them away. A happy teenager evolves when they are accepted for the changes that they are trying so hard to make. Let them grow into what they are creating, and accept them at all times. Do not feel threatened if they push you away because if you accept them, their defensiveness towards you will dissolve. Just because your child has changed and is growing up doesn’t mean you will lose them. Just stay present with them as they progress and continue to be the parent you always were.

Author's Bio: 

Adam Benedetto and Zoe Young are both dedicated to enabling others to reach their full potential in life, to help others release what is holding them back, and to find their true selves. Through years of experience and development, both have sought out the answers we all need to find peace, understand ourselves, and reach enlightenment.
Open up to the peace you will find when you finally see yourself, your true self, and learn how to truly be in the moment at Answers in Writing.