So You've Got a Teenager... Now What?!

teenagers hanging out at a table outside

So you’ve got a teenager… now what?!



It is such a joy to watch your child grow into their independence and adulthood. It’s also a real challenge to figure out how to interact with them on a daily basis! Teen brains are changing and developing in much the same way that toddler brains do – by leaps and bounds – and it can be confusing for both teens and parents.


The best thing you can do is to have a solid plan, and a great toolkit of parenting strategies to help you both get through the teen years.


In this video Dr. Phelan is talking about why teens seem so different from the sweet chatty kids they used to be, the things to watch out for, and how to keep a good relationship with your teen.

  • What happens as a child becomes a teenager that causes their behavior to change so dramatically?
  • What are some positive ways for parents to start conversations and engage with their teens?
  • If your teen does do something they shouldn’t, what do you do about that?

Teens (much like toddlers!) have a fierce need to be independent

 Teens feel that they are as big as parents and as smart as their parents and should be able to make their own choices like adults do. Not that teenagers should be able to make every single choice, but our society does not do a good job of letting teenagers manage their own lives in appropriate ways. Teens feel the need to be independent countered with the feeling of oppression from mom and dad and that is the cause for such rapid changes in behavior. 

1-2-3 Magic Teen's Translation Guide

At age 9, you child may be a chatty Cathy--it may have been hard to get them to stop talking! But now, at 16 your child responds in one word answers" "fine," "okay," "nothing." Teens often translate questions, such as "What did you do today?" into "What did you screw up today?" Teens will translate questions differently than they are actually intended and this miscommunication leads to arguing. A positive way for parents to engage with their teens is to talk about a neutral, but fun, topic or just talk about yourself!


If you have more questions about raising a teen, please check out 1-2-3 Magic Teen and our other parenting resources!

September 23, 2021
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