Hope for Hard Times

Hope For Hard Times

Parenting Teens: Hope for Hard Times 

This season is one of the most challenging yet rewarding phases of raising a family. As your once carefree and cheerful child transforms into a complex teenager, the journey takes a turn. You may find your days are filled with disconnect, rule-testing, and a constant struggle to find their identity. In the whirlwind of parenting, it's easy to feel worn down. You yearn for a connection with your teenager while balancing your own aspirations and responsibilities. This article will remind you that, despite feeling you have very little to give, continuing to show up for your teenager is crucial. While there is no such thing as perfect parenting we believe that with the right knowledge, empathy, and a supportive approach, you can navigate the teenage years with resilience while simultaneously strengthening the bond with your adolescent. 


Feeling disconnected 

You may feel like the space between you and your child has grown in recent years, and that is an accurate read of the situation. When you are a teenager, you think you know exactly who you are. However, their identity has not been consolidated but is separated like a mansion full of rooms. Each room in their mind holds different parts of them. Those rooms are not always open to each other. The rooms occasionally seem to have brick walls in between and you see this by their wildly changing demeanor, mood, and behavior on different days. Based on one insightful book that dives into the minds of teenagers, Brainstorm (Siegle, 2013), Siegle would say teens and preteens are lacking integration. These walls and lack of integration cause disconnection from themselves, their family, and their friends. They want desperately to connect and to have healthy relationships with those that surround them, but they can feel stuck in space watching their life from the outside in. 


Limit testing  

As the teen years go on, they begin to push the boundaries. There is a want and need to experience limits and to feel feelings. The more extreme the feeling or experience, the more tempting it is for them. This gets them into situations that are dangerous and can become their deepest regrets. We have every hope for teenagers who are going through their own disintegrated time. They are trying to figure out what makes them unique and make choices completely against what they know is right. We believe, with your support, they will implement wisdom into their lives and make choices that affirm what they know is right.  


Teens need you 

Do you connect to this description of teens? Your teen needs you to come alongside them. They need you to help them think through their decision making and incorporate different perspectives. This helps them begin to form connections for themselves in their own brain. They need you to believe in them, encourage them, and be there for them when they make mistakes. In this time of their life when many things can appear impossible, you can help provide experiences where they feel seen, supported, and loved.  

Navigating life with teenagers is difficult, and you need a team. When it seems like the last person on earth your teenager wants around them is you, that is the time to lean on the team you have built for them. Teachers, coaches, extended family, community members, and peers are all important when it comes to launching a successful adult into the world. Asking for help in this parenting journey, while difficult, is imperative. The team of people you build for your teenager who will see their potential and give them grace along the way are going to be essential to their success. 


There is hope 

Reading about how to be a better parent is a sign of great parenting. You are moving in the right direction, and this is a journey where you get an “A” for effort. There is no such thing as perfect parenting, and there is no such thing as parenting resulting in the perfect child. We get to do our very best with what we have and then love our kiddo no matter how it all turns out. 



  1. World Health Organization. Adolescent mental health

  2. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Warning signs and symptoms

  3. Siegel, D. J. (2015). Brainstorm: the power and purpose of the teenage brain. New York, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA).

  4. Blackmore, S. J. (2018). Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain. Public Affairs.