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How to Navigate a Healthy Relationship with Your Teenager: Tips for Parents

"My teenager is driving me nuts!" You don't know how many times I've heard this phrase in my lifetime. My friends use this phrase. My students' parents use this phrase. My neighbors use this phrase! Are they really driving you nuts or are you driving yourself nuts because you can't get inside of their head? It seems almost impossible to get on the same page as your teen. One reason is because he or she is constantly all over several pages all of the time. Hormones are going off like fireworks and their emotions look like the full list of the emojis on an iPhone.

I'm sorry to pass along the bad news, but it's really not the kids' fault. As much as we would like to put the blame on our teenager, it's not that black and white. If we could jump inside of the brain of these fragile beings, we would realize that they are going through so much more than their physical or mental state can really handle. The last thing they need is a parent yelling at them just before they leave out the door to go to school just so that they can be shunned by the cheerleading captain and ignored by her best friend the entire day. By 12 o'clock noon, her whole world has been crushed by everyone who matters the most.

Relationship...what relationship? That's where she may find herself by the end of the day or week. As parents, we have to find the right words, actions, strategies and sometimes just the right "I love you" stare. It's not easy, but we don't have to make it as difficult as it turns out to be. The last thing we need is a teenager who is dying inside and thinks that no one cares.

Invest in a "prerequisite" relationship with your children so that your relationship with your teenager won't be so difficult.

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