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It’s a Jungle Out There: Navigating Teenage Problems with Parents


It’s a Jungle Out There: Navigating Teenage Problems with Parents

Being a teenager is an intense and challenging experience. It is a time of great growth and change both physically and emotionally. Teens are constantly bombarded with new experiences and life pressures, all while trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in the world This period of self-discovery often leads to conflict with parents, period with adolescents craving autonomy and independence while parents naturally strive to provide guidance and support.

Why do teens fight with parents?

Different expectations:

Imagine two strong people pulling each other. On one side you have a teenager, who naturally gravitates to freedom and independence. They crave the freedom to make their own choices, explore their identity, and experience the world for themselves. The parent stands on the other side, often feeling responsible for overseeing and ensuring the safety and well-being of their teen. These competing desires can lead to arguments over everything from curfews (symbols of freedom and security) to tasks (responsibilities and burdens) to academic performance ( pressure to succeed vs. personal goals).

Communication breakdown:

As adolescents find their voice and identity, they may share few memories of their parents. This can be normal in terms of personal productivity, but it can also be frustrating for parents who want to stay connected and involved. Withdrawn adolescents may be secretive, causing parental confusion and distress. This lack of clear communication creates fertile ground for misunderstanding and frustration on both sides.

Unrealistic Expectations:

Parents and teens sometimes set up unrealistic bars for each other. Parents can hold their teens to impossibly high standards, expecting straight A’s, participation in every activity, and a clear path to a prestigious career. For teens, this pressure can be overwhelming, leading to stress and rebellion. On the other hand, adolescents may develop unrealistic expectations and feel that they must be effortlessly popular, perfect, and instantly successful, and that these unrealistic expectations are not met frustration and conflict arise.

Changing parent-child relationships:

 Parent-child relationships change dramatically during adolescence. Parents who once saw their child learning to guide and protect now face young adults who question their authority and seek independence It can be difficult for parents to give up authority, when teens can push boundaries to test their newfound freedom. This transition period can be overwhelming for both parties.

Stressful Life:

 Let’s face it, life is stressful for teens and parents. Teens worry about academic stress, peer relationships, social media problems, and their place in the world. Parents are often burdened with job demands, financial pressures and constant worries about their children’s well-being. This constant pressure can make it difficult for both parties to remain calm, patient, and communicate effectively.

How to improve communication with a teenager

If you are the parent of a teenager, here are some tips for improving communication:

  • Make time for regular visits. Even if it’s just 15 minutes, set aside time to talk with your teen about their day. This does not have to be a formal conversation; It could be at dinner or while driving.
  • Listen without judgment. Try to listen without judgment when your teen is talking to you. This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they say, but it does mean providing a safe space for them to express themselves.
  • Avoid lectures. Young people will not respond well to talks. Instead, try to talk to them. Ask them questions, and really listen to their answers.
  • Respect their privacy. Young people need some privacy. Don’t search their phones or rooms. If you need to talk to them about something, knock on their door first.
  • Set a good example. Young people learn by example. If you want your teen to connect with you, you have to be willing to connect with them. Be honest and open with them about your life.

How to cope with parents as a teenager

If you are a teenager, here are some tips on how to cope with your parents.

  • Choose your battles. Not every disagreement is worth fighting. Choose your battles wisely, and save your energy for the things that really matter to you.
  • Talk to your parents. If your parents are upset with you, it’s best to talk to them. Don’t bottle up your feelings; Let them know what’s bothering you.
  • Try to see things from their point of view. It is important to try to see things from a parent’s point of view. They may not always agree with you, but they may love you and want what is best for you.
  • Find a trusted adult to talk to. If you can’t seem to communicate with your parents, find another trusted adult to talk to, such as a teacher, counselor, or aunt/uncle.
  • Focus on the positive. It’s easy to get caught up in the negative aspects of your relationship with your parents. But also try to focus on the positive. What do you appreciate about your parents?

Further advice for young people

  • Seek positive role models: If you struggle to communicate with your parents, try talking to another trusted adult, such as a teacher, counselor, or aunt/uncle.
  • Join a support group: There are many support groups for teens who are struggling with their parents. These groups can provide a safe space to share your experiences and get advice from others who are going through the same thing.
  • Take care of yourself: It is important to take care of yourself emotionally and physically during this difficult time. Make sure you get enough sleep, eat healthy foods and exercise regularly.

Additional advice for parents

  • Listen to your teen: Really listen to what your teen says, even if you don’t agree with them. Try to see things from their perspective.
  • Validate their feelings: Let your teen know that their feelings are real, even if you don’t understand them.
  • Pick fights: There will be times when you need to stand your ground, but there will also be times when it’s best to give up. Choose your battles wisely.

For additional resources and support you can go here:

Additional Common Questions

Q: How can I talk to my parents when they just don’t seem to understand?

A: Choose a time to be quiet and express a willingness to speak. Try to see things from their perspective and explain your feelings clearly and honestly.

Q: What if my parents have unrealistic expectations of me?

 A: Talk to them! Define your goals and dreams and work together to find a middle ground. Demonstrate your responsibility and competence to earn their trust.

Q: I feel like my parents are watching me! How can I access some private information?

A: Respect their concerns, but ask for reasonable boundaries. Discuss appropriate confidentiality and find an agreement that works for both of you.


Adolescence can be a whirlwind time for both parents and teens. But by understanding the root causes of conflict – differing expectations, communication breakdowns, unrealistic expectations, variables, and stress – you can weather the storm and build a strong relationship Remember you are both in the same group, wanting the best for each other Open communication, empathy, and a willingness to compromise will allow you to meet these challenges and emerge in a relationship that will last a lifetime.

Adolescence doesn’t have to be a battle. Keep communicating openly and honestly with your parents. Parents, listen actively and try to see things from the teen’s point of view. Remember, communication is key. By working together, you can build strong and supportive relationships that will last through these difficult years and beyond.

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