The Teen Years
Taking What They Say or Do Personally

The teen years are fraught with change. The teen is changing daily. Their thoughts are a mass of emerging emotions, ideas and thoughts that contradict, contest and challenge previously held ideas and behaviors. Those around the teen, often parents, accept and expect a level of this as they remember the upheaval of that time for them. Occasionally, the sheer force and volume of this cauldron of energy and agitation becomes too much for all involved and conflict arises. Often, intense conflict. During these moments, one reminder that has helped numerous parents to maintain their sanity in the midst of the hurricane known as teenagedom- don’t take it personally.

What? How can this be helpful? Keep in mind that one of the developmental tasks for teens is to separate from family and forge stronger attachments with their peer group. While they are undergoing major renovation internally, they blurt out and say mean, derogatory things about those they have been connected to. Often parents. If we, as parents can put their behavior in the realm of a necessary life task that is not directed at us (though it often is), this gives us breathing room and decreases the likelihood we will fill the need to protect or retaliate. This eases the intensity of our internal emotional state, thereby decreasing the likelihood that what we say will escalate the conversation.

To learn more about the specifics of how to employ this technique, contact Brett Beaver, LMFT at [email protected]