Parenting Resources

Sensitive or Responsive Parenting for Adolescents

Teens need to see their parents as supportive, as role models and helpers in decision making, as the authority figure in the home, and as the person who loves them unconditionally – especially when they make foolish decisions. Adolescents face many developmental tasks that challenge them as they seek to move from dependence to independence.  Similar to toddlers, they may experience emotional roller coasters, and once again, it is crucial that parents do not participate in that ride.  

Your adolescent may lash out at you in anger when you ask where he has spent the last two hours as he struggles to develop independence.  Pause and take a breath before you respond back in anger.  Your teen may not actually be angry with you for asking, he is rather trying to say he is struggling with the conflict between his need for independence and your need to help him stay safe.

Adolescents’ brains are still developing, so they need parental input, insight, and oversight throughout their teen years.  For additional information see our newsletter on Connected Parenting and the article The Teenage Brain:  Under Construction.

Think of one way you can be a sensitive parent this week.  You may need to actually schedule a time to connect.

  • Schedule a date
  • Spend time sitting quietly next to her as she does homework
  • Volunteer to be the driver on school activities
  • Go camping
  • Attend an activity with your teen – watch a sport practice or game, sit in on a musical rehearsal or performance
  • Schedule one evening a week for family night or as a time without any technology. 
  • Work on a home project together
  • Volunteer for a charity together

Be creative in discovering ways to stay connected – and remember to LISTEN more than TALK.