Tips on How to Relate to Your Teen


"What Teenagers Really Need from Their Parents"


Written by: Claudine Simone • June 23rd, 2023

Connecting with your teenager 

Unlocking the secrets of connecting with your teenager can sometimes feel like cracking a code. As parents, we yearn for a strong bond with our teens, but understanding their needs can be challenging. So, what exactly do teens need from their parents?

In this article, we'll explore valuable tips to help you relate to your teen better. By building trust, empathy, and understanding, you can nurture a meaningful relationship with your teenager. Being a parent myself, I personally know how frustrating and worrisome it can be; we all just want the best for our children! Sometimes, we just don’t really know what that is, and we feel powerless!  You may be experiencing that your teen just locks themself in their room for hours on end, or is constantly on their devices, refusing to talk to you, or may be rebellious and angry all the time.  Wanting what is the best for our children can make us anxious and leave us constantly worrying about them and unsure what way to turn. Which may make us anxious about our children's future and behaviours. Unfortunately, when we only focusing on their behaviour, we lose sight of what our teens need from us in the present moment, and not knowing who our teenager is as a developing individual.  As parents, we yearn for a strong bond with our teens, but understanding their needs can be challenging.

Professional Registered Psychotherapist 


In my local Newmarket Ontario psychotherapy practice, I repeatedly witness that adolescents’ main complaint is about their parent(s), primarily parents are constantly lecturing them or demanding them do things. When, what teenagers really want is to be seen, heard, and understood. They don’t want their only interaction with their parent(s) to be about what they need or haven’t done; such as chores, constantly talking about school grades, or their future. Yes, there needs to be a balance. In essence, all they want is understanding and acceptance rather than constant lecturing. It is natural for teenagers to want their parents to see and appreciate their individuality, choices, and interests. Teens also crave quality time with their parent(s), and this is so important to form healthy attachments for future relationships.  When parents don’t spend quality time with their teen, it can greatly impact their self-worth, self-esteem, and can contribute to depression, and anxiety.


What can parents do? 


It's important for parents to strike a balance when discussing their teen's future and school. While it's natural for parents to be concerned about their child's education and future prospects, it's also important to consider their feelings and perspectives. Remember that each teenager is unique, and their specific needs and desires may vary. It's essential to maintain open lines of communication, show empathy, and adapt your parenting approach to meet your teenager's evolving needs. Building a strong foundation of trust and understanding can help create a healthy and positive relationship with your teenager.


I typically have parents call to set up therapy for their teenager, which can be very helpful on many levels. However, the most beneficial therapy would be to intergrate one on one therapy with your teenager as well. Whether that is online or in person.

Here are some ways adolescent and teen therapy can help:


In person, or online therapy provides a safe and neutral space for both teenagers and parents to express their thoughts and emotions. As a therapist I can facilitate effective communication and teach active listening skills, helping both parties to understand each other better and express themselves more constructively. 


  1. Conflict resolution: Therapy can help teenagers and parents develop healthy strategies for resolving conflicts. During my sessions I teach techniques for managing disagreements, finding common ground, and reaching compromises that satisfy both parent(s) and your teen.

  2. Building empathy and understanding: Therapy fosters empathy and understanding between teenagers and parents. By exploring each other's perspectives and experiences, they can gain insight into the underlying motivations and emotions driving their actions. This increased understanding can lead to greater compassion and empathy in their interactions.

  3. Strengthening parenting skills: Therapispy can provide guidance and support to parents, helping them develop effective parenting strategies and techniques. They can offer insights into adolescent development, communication styles, and discipline approaches that promote healthy relationships and positive outcomes.

  4. Emotional support: Adolescence is a time of significant emotional growth and challenges. Therapy provides teenagers with a supportive environment where they can explore their feelings, develop coping skills, and receive guidance on managing stress, anxiety, or other mental health concerns.


5. Establishing boundaries and expectations: A therapist can assist both teenagers and parents in setting appropriate boundaries and expectations. They can help establish realistic goals and discuss the importance of autonomy while ensuring a safe and supportive environment for the teenager.


Newmarket family therapy is based on the specific needs and goals of the teenager and parent. This kind of support can foster a healthier and more fulfilling relationship between teenagers and parents.


If in-person or online therapy is not feasible due to financial constraints, there are still several ways you can foster a positive relationship with your teenage children.


Here are a few suggestions:


  1. Listen actively: Take the time to listen to your teenager without interrupting or immediately offering advice. Show genuine interest in their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Doing this will help them feel valued and understood.

  2. Avoid constant lecturing: Instead of constantly lecturing or criticizing, engage in open and respectful conversations. Share your concerns or perspectives without being overbearing. Encourage your teenager to express their opinions and thoughts as well.

  3. Validate their feelings: Recognize and validate your teenager's emotions. Understand that they may undergo many changes and challenges during this period. Empathize with their experiences and provide support when needed.

  4. Offer guidance, not commands: Instead of issuing orders or strict instructions, offer guidance and suggestions. Involve your teenager in decision-making processes and allow them to have a say in their lives. Allowing them to develop a sense of autonomy and responsibility. 

  5. Respect their boundaries: Respect your teenager's need for personal space and privacy. Avoid prying or invading their privacy without a valid reason. Trust is crucial in maintaining a healthy parent-teenager relationship.

  6. Find common ground: Discover shared interests or activities you can enjoy together. Strengthen your bond and provide opportunities for meaningful interactions.  


Remember, while these suggestions can be helpful, it's essential to prioritize the mental health and well-being of your teenager. 


Here are some additional issues to look out for with your children, teens, and adolescents:


  1. Online safety: Ensuring the internet safety of children and teens is crucial in the digital age. Set online privacy for teens, to prevent cyberbullying.

  2. Parental controls: Parental control tools and software help parents monitor and manage their child's online activities. There are parental control apps that can be installed to make browsing safe for teens. Here are the top 10 parental control apps

  3. Media risks: Social media platforms can pose risks to children and teens. Cyberbullying is a significant concern for children and adolescents. Social media comparison can also cause teens to experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, envy and body dysmorphia from recent study on how social media affects teens

  4. Mental health support: Mental health issues are prevalent among children and teens. Keywords could include "adolescent mental health services," "teen counseling resources," or "children's therapy options."

  5. Digital literacy: Developing digital literacy skills is important for children and teens to navigate the online world responsibly. Keywords could include "digital literacy education," "online ethics for kids," or "internet safety lessons."

  6. Gaming addiction: Excessive gaming can become problematic for some children and teens, becoming a gaming addiction.

  7. Screen time management: Managing screen time and balancing digital activities with other aspects of life is crucial. Keywords could include "screen time limits for children," "digital detox for teens," or "healthy technology habits."


While it's important for parents to monitor technology use, it should be done in a balanced and respectful manner. Trust, open communication, and age-appropriate boundaries are key in guiding adolescents' technology use effectively. By being involved, parents can help their adolescents navigate the digital world safely, responsibly, and with a healthy perspective.


If you believe that parent-teen therapy could benefit your family, I am here to help. As a specialized therapist with expertise in parent-teen dynamics, I am dedicated to supporting families in navigating these complex dynamics and finding constructive solutions.


Reach out today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how parent-teen therapy can empower you and your teenager to build a stronger, more harmonious relationship. 

Remember, investing in the well-being and relationship with your teenager can have a profound and lasting impact on their overall development and happiness.

To book a complimentary 15 minute consultion: 

"Not 'till we are lost, do we begin to find ourselves!"

- Thoreau