Support for children aged 0-25 with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

Information for parents of teenagers

Being a parent can be the most rewarding job in the world, but at times may feel like it's the most difficult. When your child becomes a teenager, it can be normal for them to begin to challenge you as a parent in different ways.

There may be days where you feel like you are able to communicate with your child, and on other days you may feel at a loss.

When your child was young you parented in a way where you had more say and control. As a teenager your child is developing into a young person. They may want to have more independence, freedom and choice. Their behaviour may be stressful, hurtful or surprising.

You may struggle with knowing if you are managing their behaviour correctly. Things may have got to the point where you have argued so much you don’t know where to go from here. Many parents find that after these difficult times are over, they have a loving and rewarding relationship with their now older child.

This information is designed to give you some information on coping with this time, and on positive steps to take in understanding your teenager as they develop.

Positive steps for a good relationship
  • communication – Listen to each other needs and requests
  • let them know you still love them
  • try to remain calm and be consistent
  • try not to take their behaviour personally
  • try to understand how difficult they may be finding developing to an adult. Appreciate the pressures they may be experiencing
  • try to think back to how you felt at that age
  • try to be non-judgemental about their behaviour
  • accept that there may be some conflict
  • have clear rules and limits with reasonable consequences
  • try not to use threats or orders
  • talk and negotiate solutions when there is a disagreement
  • don’t use physical interventions, punishing in this way will only cause further damage to your relationship
  • remember you are a role model and your teenager will learn from you how to manage their behaviour in future
  • try to think of your job as guiding your teenager towards adult life
  • take your time to consider how you can manage the stress
  • try to find ways of looking after yourself.
Is this normal behaviour?

If you suspect your teenager is experiencing personal issues, or facing problems, try talking to them about your concerns openly and honestly.

If you want further advice and support you can contact the services below:

Mental Health - speak to your Doctor to consider further options, for example, CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service)

Autistic Spectrum Conditions - The National Autisitic Society can provide specialist advice & support if your teenager has a diagnosis of Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome.

Useful websites

Family lives - got a teenager?

NHS - coping with your teenager

Young minds

Frank - information on drugs and alcohol

Relate - parenting teenagers

NSPCC - a practical guide to positive parenting

Related information