Parenting Teens

I’d drug test a happy teenager. Okay, not really. Not only are your hormones going crazy and every thing you want to do you are told you are to young to do. No matter where you live or what income your parents have it is not where you would choose. You are going to school with people based on your parents choice of geographical location. Your parents think if you close your door to have a little privacy on the phone you are shutting them out and your mom is driving you up the wall with her “just say no” lectures.

I do not want to “fluff” depression. It has been shown recently that many other cultures teenagers do not suffer from what we describe as teen angst. They have real problems. Basic needs…food, water, living quarters. So is teen depression something we have created? It is real, but also highly exaggerated. Most teens feel alienated. Most teens feel some degree of depression. As parents do we feed into it or do we help our teen understand that what they feel is fairly common and even though it seems devastating now it will get better.

Knowing the difference between angst and depression is a call that only a parent and a professional can make. We are definitely over-medicating our kids but losing a child to suicide is not an acceptable option. Asking questions of a professional and getting perspective of an objective party can only be a good thing.

Letting your child know that know matter what they have your love and support can also only be a good thing. We think they know these things but sometimes they get confused. They think we will only love them conditionally based on grades or sports performance and they are much harder on themselves then we could ever be.

Spending time with your teenager talking about things that they enjoy might open a dialog about things that really worry you. Bite your tongue and just listen; you teen wants to have a relationship with you. Every single friend of my daughters(male and female) has said they wish they were closer to their parents.