Parenting teenagers

Estimated read: 5 minutes 

Parenting teenagers can be challenge but they still need you. Sometimes it's easy to forget that while being an adult has all sorts of stresses and strains, being a teenager isn't always that great either. 

Key points:

  • Respecting their choices and listening to them
  • Giving them love and a safe space to grow 
  • Adjusting the boundaries 

First of all, they are at a difficult age when they're no longer seen either as children or as adults. Secondly, their hormones are racing, they're under pressure from friends and the media to keep up, and their schoolwork is more important now than ever. These are just some of the issues that lead to the mood swings and emotional outbursts that we commonly associate with teenagers, and can be worth remembering when handling problems and difficult situations with your teen.

Watch our video on what your teens from you 

Teenagers need love

All children thrive from love, security and a strong foundation no matter what age they are. Even if they have a little attitude or act like they don't need you, they probably do. Teens respond really well to lots of praise, love and affection. They still need their parents around to offer support and guidance. 

Teenagers need privacy

They constantly worry about their looks, their bodies, and the strange feelings and thoughts they are experiencing. Whether it's lack of self-confidence or just a curiosity about the way their bodies are developing, they need time to sort out things for themselves. Give them space and don't take it personally if they prefer not to talk to you. 

Teenagers need to be different

They need to show to the world that they're growing up and want to be independent. They may want to embrace their individuality and make choices to reflect that. Try to support their decisions unless it puts them at harm. 

Teenagers need boundaries

They may kick up a fuss about being old enough to look after themselves, but the truth is that teenagers don't always make the right choices and they know this as well as you do. Setting out some ground rules makes it clear that they're being looked after and despite the fuss that they make about being in charge of their own lives, the boundaries actually make them feel safe and secure.  

Teenagers need to be listened to

Sometimes they think you're not giving them a chance to make their case. If you want teenagers to listen to then you should try to make the effort to listen as well. Show them that their ideas and opinions matter, even if you disagree with them and every now and then, try to negotiate something that's fair to you both and then let them take responsibility for their own decisions. Read more about communicating with your teen.

Further resources 

It may help to chat to other parents on our forums to find out how they are dealing with this issue within their family life. You can also talk to us online via our live chat service, email us at or call us on our helpline on 0808 800 2222 to speak to trained family support worker. 

If you feel your teen may benefit from talking to someone about how they are feeling, they can get support from Give Us a Shout who provide a texting service. 

This page was updated on May 2021

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