Your teen is continuing to learn how to handle stress and conflict on top of having overactive emotions.
A parent who reacts when their teenager snaps a comeback will only escalate the situation. As a parent to a teenager, we can de-escalate a highly emotional situation, and sometimes the best solution isn’t to offer a solution.
Here are some ways you can support your teen when they’re having a hard day.
Pray for your teen.
Our children will never stop needing our prayers. The teen years may be one of the most needed seasons for us to be on our knees. Our teens are learning about themselves, learning how the world works, and deal with pressure from their peers.
They struggle to hold onto the promises God has given them and to believe the life He desires for them is good. Prayer is powerful and the Holy Spirit can move in the hearts of our teens. Sometimes the prayer is for us…our mama heart as they go through Driver’s Ed or choosing a college (or not).
This is one [of several] vital seasons in their lives when they need wisdom and grace–and a little space.
Let your teen have some space.
One thing I have learned is you can’t force a teen to talk. You can invite them to when they are willing and simply make yourself available. But if they aren’t ready, don’t push them. Don’t badger them. Don’t manipulate them. Give them some space to think through what it is they’re stressed about. This is the time you can be praying.
Listen. Listen. Listen.
If and when your teen is ready to talk about what is stressing them out, listen. That’s all. Listen. Don’t offer advice or solutions or your opinion unless they ask. Sometimes they just need someone to hear them; especially their parents. If something is within your control to make better, make it better without saying a word.
If you’re a parent who raises their voice, be intentional about kicking the habit. If you tend to condescend or cut them off while they’re in the middle of a sentence so you can add your two cents, resist the urge. Just listen.
Gently offer a solution–when the time is right.
If you notice a pattern of stress coming from the same source (school, a friend, a sibling), evaluate the situation. Pray about it and gently, lovingly, offer an idea to help reduce the stress in that situation. Do what you can as a parent to help. If the problem is a sibling, don’t continue to brush it off or make excuses for the way things are.
(Life’s not fair. Your brother/sister is just younger and more immature, etc.) While these may be true enough, they are not helpful or practical solutions. Maybe you know a good option for a solution, maybe you don’t. Pray or seek the advice of someone wise to help you help your teen and what’s stressing them out.
Teens aren’t trying to be difficult. They are just living a difficult season of their lives (remember being a teen??). They need a bit of compassion and understanding and direction–and lots of patience! What they need will largely depend on their personality. They may need one or all of these ideas. Or something else entirely. It’s one of the hard jobs of parenting teens is understanding what they need at any given moment.
Teenagers are amazing! They really are. We just need to take the time to see them and appreciate them in the season they’re in.
For His Glory,
Christin has been married to her high school sweetheart for 20+ years and together they have seven children. She enjoys writing, reading, weightlifting, and challenging herself to new things.
Her passion is to pursue holiness and wholeness in Christ. You can find her on Instagram at instagram.com/christinslade