Today we bring you Ten Things To Do When Your Teen Is Starting To Pull Away. This list could also be called Ten Ways Not To Over-Parent or Ten Ways To Move Into An Adult Relationship With Your Teen. (Are you sensing a theme?).

Photo of a male teenager turned away from a man who appears to be his father giving him advice. It is normal for teens to begin asserting their independence but difficult for you as a parent to know how to react.

Your Teen is Becoming Their Own Person

When children reach adolescence and teenagehood, they begin a process of self-actualization. During this stage of development, it’s completely natural for them to seek independence and pull away from their parents. Their goal is to find out who they are on their own and to establish an individual identity, separate from their parents and family.

The good news is that this has nothing to do with how good of a parent you are or how much your kids love you. It is simply a natural part of growing up. As friends and peers become more important, parents and family become less so. 

The bad news is that being the parent of a teen can be difficult. It’s easy to take things personally or feel defeated when your teen pushes you away. Our therapists at The Relationship Therapy Center, in Fair Oaks and Roseville, California get it, which is why we’ve created the following list of guidelines to help you navigate the tricky waters of parenting a teenager

Ten Things To Do When Your Teen Is Starting To Pull Away

Teen on phone with Mom trying to talk. Teens are often more focused on peer relationships than working on their connection with parents. In this article a teen therapist shares tips for parenting your teenager.

1. Separate your story from you child’s.

One of the most difficult aspects of parenting is learning to separate our own stories and experiences from those of our children. It’s normal to remember how we felt when we were their age and think they are experiencing the exact same thing. The truth is that they’re not and the more we can separate our experience from theirs, the easier a relationship with them will be.

2. Stop over-parenting.

Stop texting ten times a day. Stop asking probing questions. Stop barging into their room or going through their backpack without permission. Your teen is growing up and becoming an adult. They need, want, and deserve privacy and respect. The more you show that you trust them, the more likely they will want you around.

3. Let them know you trust them to handle their own problems.

As much as you may want to swoop in and save them, or solve their problems, you need to let your teenager figure things out for themselves. Overcoming challenges makes us more resilient and knowing we can solve our own problems boosts self-confidence. What your teen wants is to know that you trust they can handle their own “stuff”.

4. Be open to your teen’s feedback.

Teens can be brutally honest and sometimes say things you do not want to hear. Instead of shutting them down, getting angry, or internalizing what they say, let them know you value their opinion and feedback and are listening to them. At the same time, teach your teen what behavior is and is not acceptable and model kindness in every moment.

5. Love them.

Let your teen know that no matter what they say, no matter what they do, you love them. You always have and always will. When a teen lashes out, do your best not to take what they say personally or yell back. Even when they are pushing you away, teens need to know that they are loved, safe, and supported.

6. Let them know you are there for them.

Although your teen may only say an average of ten words to you in a day, there may come a time when they really need to talk to you. Remind your teen often that you are there if they ever need to talk. 

7. Encourage them to talk to other trustworthy adults.

At a time when it is natural to pull away from their parents, it’s important for teens to have other trustworthy adults in their lives to talk to. This adult could be a family friend, aunt, uncle, teacher, or community member. Let your teen know that it’s ok to talk to someone other than a parent and that you won’t feel hurt if they do.

8. Respect their boundaries.

Give your teen space when they ask for it, treat their room as sacred and private, don’t overstep in friendships and romantic relationships. At the same time, continue to keep them safe and offer age-appropriate guidelines. As always, be there for them if and when they do reach out.

9. Support their interests and passions.

Be their biggest cheerleader, whether it’s in skateboarding, singing, fashion, dancing, sports, or making videos. Let them know you see them, appreciate them, and believe in them. 

10. Treat them like an adult.

This is a big one, so simple but so difficult at the same time. It’s time to stop treating your teen as if they were a child and begin treating them like an adult. At their core, this is the essence of what your teen is asking for, and above all else, treating your teen as an adult will transform your relationship in the most positive way. 

Photo of two teenage girls walking in the street representing the important role friendships play for teenagers.

Interested in learning more? Contact The Relationship Therapy Center today to find out about family, teen, and individual therapy. 

Begin Teen therapy in the Sacramento Area

Both you and your teen deserve support as you work through this time of growth and change. The caring therapists at our Roseville, CA-based therapy practice would love to offer a place for your teen to continue to grow as a person. To start teen therapy, please follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact us to schedule a free 20-minute phone or video consultation

  2. Meet with a caring therapist

  3. Reconnect and enjoy the relationship with your teen

Other Services offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:

In addition to teen therapy, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, codependency counseling and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.