teenconcerns_inside.jpgThe teenage years—the stage parents dread the most. Your loving, bubbly child has suddenly become secretive and sullen. The bonding sessions over DVDs in the family room have turned into long stretches of silence at the dinner table. The easy conversations have turned into screaming matches. Yep, your child has definitely hit her teens—and with a vengeance! 

No matter how excruciating and inevitable it may seem, the home does not need to become a battleground during your child’s teenage years. While it's natural for kids to try to assert their independence at this age, it can also lead to conflicts between child and parent. This can engender feelings of frustration, despair, and anger on both ends. Instead of feeling as if you’re raising aliens, though, you should also try to understand where your teens are coming from.

The root of parent-teen conflict is the adolescent issue of dependence/independence. Teens have their own ideas, and they want to be out of your "control." But at the same time, they are still also dependent on you, especially for their basic needs.

The generation gap does nothing to help the situation. With different mindsets, you and your teen often disagree, especially when one side imposes an opinion on the other. At times like these, you should sit down with your child and hash out issues and concerns.

Here's a list of concerns you may have about your teen and what you can do to address them.

Learn more about how to deal with issues that concern your child from these FN articles:

(First published in Good Housekeeping Magazine, Features section as "Don’t Like Your Teenager’s Boyfriend?" in August 2008; screencaps from 10 Things I Hate About You courtesy of Touchstone Pictures; adapted for use in Female Network)
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