“Do I still matter?” That’s the question facing many parents as their children head into their teen years. Spoiler alert — the answer is YES — parents do matter to their teenagers — perhaps more than ever!
So, why is it that during such a critical life stage we often question our value? We didn’t do this when our kids were younger.
Why Parents of Teens Question Themselves
The media is chock full of negative portrayals of teens. News reports, television shows, movies, and pop culture often perpetuate messages of the stereotypical “risk-taking” teen (think 13 Reasons Why or Euphoria). On top of that, when children hit the teen years, it’s not uncommon for teachers and coaches to ask parents to take a step back. And, conversations at the grocery store or on the ball field sidelines often center around the teen years being a “time to survive.”
No one is saying parenting teens is always easy. Teens often push away as they test their independence. Mistakes are common as they are furiously learning how to navigate so much new territory. Tweens and teens may spend more time with peers. But adolescence is a time of opportunity when parental guidance is crucial. Believing that will help you resist the temptation to give in to false ideas circulating about what it means to parent a teenager. These truths might also help.
The Truth About Teens
Teens are “super-learners.” Their brains are absorbing new information at a rapid pace. They seek out new opportunities that allow them to push boundaries past what they’ve already learned. Teens care about their parents’ well-being and value input as they are forming their own opinions. They are passionate, thoughtful, and idealistic. And, they still need you.
Interested in learning more about this topic? Check out ”The Big Questions Parents of Teens are Asking: Do I Still Matter?” in Psychology Today. Center for Parent and Teen Communication Co-Founder, and Adolescent Medicine expert Dr. Ken Ginsburg, shares further insight for any parent who’s ever doubted themself.