Raising an adolescent can be a frustrating time to be a parent. Even though the need to push boundaries, question authority, and argue rules is a healthy part of growing up, it can be maddening to hash out the same arguments day after day.

Even though the arguments are pretty much unavoidable, parents need to be sure they’re not causing harm to their relationship with their child.

Here are some ways to do what’s necessary while preserving the trusting relationship you’ve built with your child through the years.

Sailing Rough Waters

1. Communication

When it comes to working with your teen, communication is at the top of any list I make. If you’re arguing about a new issue, help them understand why the behavior is unacceptable instead of simply settling on “Because I said so.” If it’s a repeated offense, come at it from a new angle.

2. Understand Your Role as the Parent

When things do erupt into arguments, keep in mind your position as authority figure. It’s important to communicate and make sure your teen understands the situation, but don’t feel you need to explain yourself. You are the parent; you are not your teen’s peer.

3. Don’t Punish Out of Anger

Nothing will lose your child’s trust faster than losing your self-control and wildly punishing purely because you’ve been pushed too far. Again, communication is more important than ever when you start feeling your blood boil. Establish the rule and your reasoning behind it. If your teen continues to argue for argument’s sake (instead of bringing up valid questions or points) or begins name-calling, inform them that the behavior won’t be tolerated and if it continues, they’ll be punished. Then, if they choose to continue, it’s not a surprise. Understanding the boundaries is key for your teen to push their limits. Believe it or not, but maintaining these rules helps build trust as they know they’re allowed to question, but feel secure in what lines are okay to cross, and what’s considered “too far.”

4. Never Insult, Name-Call, or Belittle

When tempers are running hot and your teen starts throwing out the insults, it can sometimes be almost too easy to throw one back.


Not only are you losing your position of authority and lowering yourself to nothing more than a child yourself, but you’re also actively trying to hurt your child. Your role as parent is to guide them through life. It’s a role they’ve come to expect of you. When you in turn are trying to hurt their feelings on purpose, everything changes. You no long become someone they can trust or talk to.

Be the Law

Teens need to question authority. It teaches them to think for themselves in new ways, and actually helps them resist peer pressure. It’s your job as the parent to lay down what’s acceptable and stay the course as their guide while maintaining the trust you’ve spent their life earning.

Author's Bio: 

Tyler Jacobson is a father, husband, and freelancer, with experience in writing and outreach for parent and organizations that help troubled teen boys. Tyler has offered humor and research backed advice to readers on parenting tactics, problems in education, issues with social media, mental disorders, addiction, and troublesome issues raising teen boys. Connect with Tyler on: Twitter | Linkedin