2 minutes reading time (492 words)

Helping Your Teen Through the Tough Times

Adolescence is a difficult time of life. I frequently hear my students complain about their family, their parents, and life in general. Many adolescents feel that their parents do not love them. From my perspective, many of them have a great life, and there really isn’t anything to be upset about. I know for sure that their parents care tremendously about them. But the truth is that it doesn’t matter what I think—it’s how they feel that matters. They are not happy. But parents may be able to help.

Some parents give their teens things like a new computer or electronic gadgets to cheer them up. Or they give them extra money to spend however they want. This can bring temporary “happiness” and immediate attention from friends. But it doesn’t take long for that happiness to wear off.

What teens really need is a sense of purpose in life. They need to know that they are important, loved, and respected by their friends and family. They should participate in family business that affects them such as preparing meals, planning events, maintaining the home, or selecting what to buy. They feel like you respect them when you include them this way. They know that their purpose is to be a valued member of the family who can help make meaningful.

Teens need to feel empathy for others who are less fortunate. In general, adolescents are pretty much focused on themselves. This is natural and not something parents need to worry about. But parents can help them to see that there are others in the world, and that many people do not have their basic needs met. The best way for them to learn this is to witness their parents helping others by giving their time, energy, and money. Involving your teen in these activities can help them to focus on others, which will lead to feelings of self-worth and satisfaction.

Finally, teens need to understand that luck does not determine what happens to them—they need to know that hard work makes the difference. I have personally witnessed this in my classroom many, many times. It is the student who works the hardest who experiences the most success. Once they understand this concept, they feel a sense of control, which is extremely important for everyone—not just teens.

If you have a son or daughter who is feeling down about life, start off by giving them a hug and telling them how much you love them. Have a conversation to find out what is happening in their life. Most of the time, the feelings of despair are only temporary. Sometimes, though, they do not go away. In these cases, your child may be depressed and need professional help to regain a sense of hope for the future. Life can be tough for adolescents, but knowing that you are there for them makes it a lot easier.

>Tips for Parents of Middle Schoolers

>Today's Multitasking Teens

Balancing Creativity and Academics
Reaching Out to the Sandy Hook School Community

Related Posts



#3 steven 2013-02-12 22:29
do not understand why my 16 year old daughter who goes to newfield school has been getting bullied for two years on and off en mass and school never seem to take it seriously despite their apparent anti-bullying policies, none of which have been used correctly.inste ad she has been isolated and/or put in a room with said bullies
#2 Livia McCoy 2013-01-11 23:20
Thank you for your thoughtful comment, momstoryteller. I see so many teens who aren't enjoying life like they ought to be at their age. You obviously are a wonderful, caring, Mom.
#1 momstoryteller 2013-01-08 23:46
Your summary is right on target - purpose, empathy, control. My two teens get so wrapped up in themselves, their iPods, and texting, it's as if the world around them doesn't exist. They may not like it, but pulling them back into reality and fostering their sense of pride in their role in the family is critical. Sometimes it's seems easier to ignore them. But really, soon it will be too late. They need that grounding, that sense of belonging and purpose, to help them when they are off on their own.

You have no rights to post comments

School Family Connection Newsletter

Get school tips, recipes, worksheets, and more

First Name
Email *
Yes, send offers from carefully selected partners.
(* = required field)


Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?

No - 37.4%
Sometimes - 25.4%
Yes - 31.6%

Total votes: 4919
The voting for this poll has ended on: June 25, 2016