The Difficult (Teen) Years For Parents.


 4cc00286dceb050d74f3966f6cfb3c08Most would think that infancy would be the most difficult years.  Dealing with a newborn is beyond stressful, as you try to figure out how to parent, adjust to little sleep, a new role in life and a new expense is added to the household….but to many reading this, it is probably no surprise that adolescence, namely middle school has added the most stress in raising a child. 

For the most part our kids are pretty innocent, then middle school happens.  First, we are dealing with raging hormones, changing bodies and brains, exposure to peer pressure and risky behaviors like experimenting with drugs and alcohol and dating for the first time.  Our kids clash between still feeling dependent on parents and the “leave me alone, I’ve got this figured out.”

We see this person who is almost but not quite grown-up physically.  They have hit the Don’t ask me questions, hibernating in their bedroom and then on the other hand we are needed to wipe up tears when crushed and looking for comfort just like a child.  They are still that child inside, but to comfort at this age is not as easy as when we kissed their hurts away. 

I taught Middle School for 19 years and I would always tell my parents that the space ship came and took their kids, dropped off aliens and when they turn 18 or 19 you might get your kind kid back.  It seems to happen overnight….Yesterday you had a child that loved to snuggle and today he can’t stand to be near you. 

It is hard for parents to not treat their child like they are still 8 or 9 years old, there’s pushback…..and that catches parents off guard and they panic. 

I call this the middle school construction project.  As they start to develop a new body, new brain, new sense of freedom, responsibilities and a new identity at around age 11, they also feel the adjustment and most kids are scared and nervous as they don’t know what to do.

Just know when your kid starts middle school, they have to create an identity apart from you so they can form healthy relationships with people in the future.  This is the years of messing up, owning mistakes and sadly a lot of hurt that only leads to growth.  We as parents are adjusting to getting older as well.  Our kids will act like they don’t want a relationship with us and that can be very hurtful, but they really do. 

With problems arising for middle school kids, many parents catch themselves saying “wait until you have a real problem, like paying your mortgage.”  This is  NOT the right approach what so ever, because their problems at this age is HUGE to them.  To them it’s their whole world.  They want to be understood and listened to and they want to make sure that they are taken seriously.  Allow them to talk and finish their stories.  Don’t interrupt and don’t say, well when I was in middle school we just didn’t have these problems.  Times have changed.  These kids today have social media to deal with and that is a new level that many of us in our 30’s and 40’s could never compare our middle school life to. 

Understand that middle school kids mess up.  While their bodies and brains are going through all these changes, they may or may not be the student they were in elementary.  Encourage them v’s lecturing them. 

It takes a village to raise a child, let alone a teen.   If you are at a point where you are ready to throw your hands up in the air and give up, then we need to work on everything in our power to resist that urge. 

Middle school and high school are times where our kids need our support.  Figuring out how to talk to our tween or teen and how involved one should and can be a challenge.  They want to be understood and listened to and they want to make sure we do take them seriously.

“There is nothing more rewarding and exhausting than being a parent!”

Becky Shaffer  Adolescent/Adult Life Coach


Published by beckyshafferliveinconfidence

I did the crazy and left my career teaching job after 19 years to work on and build my coaching business. I took a year off to follow my dream of being a life coach and using my skills, life lessons and training to help others find meaning in their life. While I do this, I am always growing, learning and finding more purpose and meaning in my life as well. Currently, I am life coaching and fitness coaching part-time , I continue to blog, meet with clients and I am back to teaching full time in Columbus City Schools, working with gifted students, teaching. U.S. History.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: