You heard all the stories long before you had children. Veteran parents dutifully educated you on what it would be like to parent a teen. But when you looked into the angelic face of your newborn baby, it was impossible to envision that you’d have a similar experience. How could such a beautiful, cuddly little being grow up to give you trouble. Maybe you got a little glimpse of the future when the terrible twos hit and your child taught you just how rebellious a tiny human could be. Still, you managed to push thoughts of adolescence aside. Now, though, despite all the warning, you’re left wondering. What does all this butting of heads really mean?
Here are three things to keep in mind:
1. You are not alone. When you and your teen are butting heads, it’s easy to think that no other parent has it as bad, that no other teen is as mouthy, and that surely it’s all because you got it all wrong. The truth of the matter is that all parents butt heads with their teens; it’s almost a rite of passage for parenthood. Even the sweet girl next door and that helpful neighbor boy who always cleans the snow off your car gets mouthy from time to time. And finally, no, the tantrums you gave in to when your child was a toddler did not cause this behavior.
2. You are still loved and needed. When the going gets rough, you may begin to question why you even bother, what’s the point anyway, and does your teen even love you? The answer is yes, your teen still loves you and needs your guidance. One of the reasons your teen can butt heads with you is because he understands that you will always be there, caring for him. These times will pass, and your teen will one day appreciate the continued attention and guidance you provided, even when dealing with him was super difficult. That’s why you bother.
3. Your teen is asserting his or her independence. All that disagreeing and talking back isn’t just to annoy you (not usually anyway). As your teen matures, she is developing her own moral code. She is rationalizing and coming to her own conclusions, and they won’t always jibe with your way of thinking. On top of that, your teen is less apt to conform to your way of thinking simply to please you. Essentially, your adolescent is growing more independent, and this is a large part of the reason you two butt heads.
Butting heads with your teen is never easy, but knowing the reasons behind it can make it more tolerable. As always, keeping the lines of communication open can help smooth out these teen-parent disagreements.