The terrible twos and the teen years share something in common – a desire for autonomy. But parents naturally have a hard time seeing their children struggle. Teens may act out impulsively or communicate less. That's scary for parents because they know there are issues that teenagers deal with every day like drugs and sex, healthy boundaries, body image, and peer pressure.
That knowledge makes it difficult to trust that teens will make the right choices. So, when teens do share their feelings, it is natural for parents to go right into problem solving. Bryanne Guthrie, the Lead Clinician and Clinical Supervisor at Side by Side’s Irene M. Hunt School, understands, yet cautions against it. She suggests instead, “Listen to what they are feeling. Sometimes teens just want validation, for someone to say, that sounds really challenging or it sounds like that made you really sad when she said that on social media, rather than launching right into, okay this is what we’re going to do to answer her back or you’re just going to ignore her.”