9 Pro Tips for Parenting Teens

Want to know the best tips for parenting teens to keep your sanity?  Here are all the tested and approved parenting teen tips you need to know. 

Congratulations on getting your child to the teenager stage, it can be such an exciting time for your family.  But, if you’re like me, you are doing all the research you can to be sure you’re very prepared for the difficult times that come with this stage. Being a psychotherapist, and a parent myself, I’m giving you the key tips for parenting teens that  my patients and I swear by.

You are going to learn about the most effective parenting teen tips including including parenting teenage girls, parenting teenage son and how to live with a teenager.

After working with thousands of parents and raising two successful teens, I can tell you first hand the best parenting teens tips that will guarantee you ace your job as a parent.

This post is all about the best parenting tips for parenting teens that every parent should know.

Pro Tips for Parenting Teens


1. How to raise a successful teenager

Teens learn how to be successful from their parents.

How to raise a successful teenager is based on asking questions and not demanding success or punishing when unsuccessful.  By asking questions, you can find out how far along your teen is on solving the problem, and where he or she is struggling.

If their plan is okay or satisfactory, it is better to let them try it out  and fail than to tell or demand they do it your way.  Trying out their plan, even if they fail,  prompts them to try other strategies because no one likes to fail.  Thus, they will soon guide themselves to success. 

If their plan is seriously faulty, i.e. would cause physical harm to someone or get them in legal or school trouble, then you want to step in with more questions such as: How would you handle being suspended? Could you do that in a way that would not hurt your friend?  Is there a way you could do that with less physical risk? 

Teens are more likely to follow a plan they make themselves.  Put aside your opinions of the plan and support your teen’s plan even if it’s flawed.  This helps teens separate from you and improves their chances of learning how to be successful without you. 

This is the best parenting teens tip to raise a successful teenager while keeping your relationship strong.

2. Parenting Teenage Girls

Parenting teenage girls has unique challenges.  

With my patients, I always check on the teenage girls closeness with the mother and with the father. I check to be sure neither parent is enmeshed with the daughter.  It is very important that the teen daughter feels close to, but independent from, her parents. This is especially important if the parents are divorced.  

It is crucial for a teen daughter’s happiness and self-esteem that she does not become a “friend,” “counselor” or “pseudo-spouse” for either parent. Our society tends to see women as caretakers so teen daughters are unconsciously susceptible to these roles. You can help your daughter with this by supporting and encouraging her other relationships and not depending on her in any way.

If you follow this tip on parenting teenage girls, you will not only raise a daughter with great self-esteem but you will maintain a long and happy relationship with her!

{Related Post: The Most Important Tip for Parenting a Disrespectful Child}

3. Parenting Teenage Son | Boys

Parenting teenage son also has unique challenges.

With my patients, and my own boys, I keep an eye on all their relationships.  Your teenage son should be practicing getting closer to other people in their lives such mentors, coaches, friends and girlfriends.  While it’s hard to have a child pull away from you, it’s an essential step for them to get closer with others. 

If he’s not getting closer to other people in his life, I check to make sure he is not enmeshed with one of the parents.  A mother who feels he is “still my baby” or a father who feels he’s “a chip off the ol’ block” may be giving the message that the son shouldn’t separate. This will hinder his relational and social development.

I also always check on the son’s ability to effectively name and express all their emotions.  Society puts a lot of pressure on boys and men to hide their feelings, especially anger, sadness and neediness, but this leads to emotional problems.  You can help your son with this by expressing, naming and normalizing your own feelings in his presence: “I am feeling sad this evening, I lost out on a big contract at work, but I will be fine.”  

Parenting teenage son and boys can be so rewarding if you follow this tip. 

4. Positive Parenting Strategies for the Teenage Years

I always focus on positive parenting strategies for the teenage years in my personal life and with my patients.

Your teenager will be (and should be) separating from you during this phase of their life, and that will naturally bring up feelings of loss in you. If you can continue to support your teenager’s steps toward separation despite these feelings of loss, then you will have mastered the teenage years!

This support takes the form of cheering on their ideas (even if flawed or wonky),  empathizing with their pain (even if you knew it would end badly) and keeping your feelings of loss to yourself (only to be shared with spouse, friends and/or therapist). 

These positive parenting strategies for the teenage years will guarantee you a great relationship with your adult-to-be. 

5. How to Live with a Teenager

Learning how to live with a teenager involves developing a thick skin.

Personally, this was very difficult for me when I was raising my teenagers, but it got easier with time and understanding that it is normal for teens to push your buttons.

Just like the baby and toddler milestones of smiling and walking, your teenager’s milestone is to separate from you.  In order to do that, he/she has to think and do things differently from you. 

It can be sad or irritating (or both!) to see your teen trying on identities, traits and ideas different from yours. My psychoanalyst mentor compared this stage to the young child’s game of dress-up.  It might help if your think back to how “cute” you thought it was when your child was considering being a fireman, a doctor, or superwoman.  This teenage “dress-up” doesn’t mean they will be this way forever. And choosing something different from you doesn’t mean he/she doesn’t love or respect you.

How to live with a teenager who is trying on new identities can be a whole lot easier if you don’t take it personally and realize they have decades more ahead of them to develop into the adult they are meant to be. 

6. Parenting Today’s Teens

Parenting today looks a lot different from our parents generation which can make parenting teens  today a unique challenge!

With the rapidly changing technology and availability of mind-altering substances, I give my patients these general tips to cover most of the problems these changes can bring: 

-Instead of setting random boundaries and limits, talk with your teen about boundaries you both can live with.

-Instead of punishing them, talk with them about what they were thinking, what they were trying to accomplish and what they could do differently next time.

-Instead of stepping in to make something better, let your teen make and execute their own plan.

In sum, when parenting today’s teens remember the old saying: no involvement, no commitment.  Let your teen have a say in how to conduct themselves and they are more likely to stick with it and maintain a better relationship with you. 

{Related Post: What is the Most Helpful Parenting Style?}

7. How to Parent an Angry Teenager

When I talk with my patients about how to parent an angry teenager, I encourage them to see excessive anger as a sign that your teen is having a problem resolving something. 

It’s very important that you don’t confront an angry teenager with anger as this will likely escalate the situation. Also, it’s important to not make your teen feel guilty about his/her anger, as you want him/her to be able to accept this normal emotion.   

In short here, we want your child to be comfortable with the feeling of anger but learn how to express it appropriately and be able to find appropriate ways to soothe it.

To start, t’s more productive, and sets a good example, to put up a boundary against inappropriate expression of anger by telling them you will not speak with them until they’ve calmed down. 

Then, when you have that conversation, 1. tell them how their anger makes you feel (angry, sad, anxious…) 2. Point out any pattern you’ve seen (You seem to get angry when talking about X subject or to X person) 3. Ask them if they have a plan to resolve what’s irritating them or if they want your help in resolving it: “Is there some way I can help you resolve this issue?”

The key to how to parent an angry teenager is to realize and emphasize that anger is normal and to help your teen come up with a plan to resolve the issue that is causing his anger. That’s great parenting!

8. Support for Parents of a Teenager

If you’re anything like me, you will want to know the best support for parents of a teenager.

The main idea here is that your teenager is not the person who should be supporting you through this time.  Your teenager has a job to do, separate from you so they can develop their own identities.  Your job is to take care of yourself and finding support is a great way to do just that! 

The most ideal support for these stressful times is a spouse since they are likely stressed as well, or a friend who also has teenagers.  Of course, a therapist, coach or online group of parents are other great sources of support.  It is also a good idea to do an internet search for “support for parenting teens” and see what is available in your community. 

I can say that my experience with Reachout.com has been very positive. And yes, even I needed support when parenting my teens!

I always tell my patients that if you are feeling sad, angry or out of control more days than not when it comes to your teen then it is time to seek out appropriate support for parents of a teenager.

9. Parenting Teenagers Books

My patients often ask for my advice on parenting teenagers books. 

One of the most popular parenting teenagers books is Parenting Teens with Love and Logic.  This is a great book and source of information and you can get it here: The Parenting Teens with Love and Logic book.

Personally, I found Dr. Mike Riera’s book, Uncommon Sense for Parents of Teenagers to be extremely helpful! 

Parenting teenagers books can be double effective when you share the book, or what you learned from it, with the other parent of your teen.  This helps you both get on the same page which will lessen the mixed messages and the splitting that can be damaging to your relationship with your teen. 

In sum, Parenting teenagers books can be a wonderful source of help and inspiration during this time with your teen! 

This post has been all about Pro Tips for Parenting Teens.


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