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Raising adolescents requires compassion, understanding, consistency, discipline, and guidance. You can get tough with your teen yet love them by respecting your child’s individuality, thoughts, and feelings. The job of parents is to guide teenagers so they develop into independent, productive adults who respect themselves and others. If you forget the “love” part of raising teens you are in for an exhausting battle of wills with your adolescent.

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One of the toughest challenges facing parents of adolescents is finding the balance between guiding them and allowing them the freedom to individuate. Most of the beliefs about adolescence tend toward the negative: we call teens rebellious, stubborn, willful, risk-taking, hostile, belligerent, moody, snippy, and other terms that are “easy” ways of describing their natural struggle to become independent adults. Parents who misunderstand the teen phase may overreact to the adolescent’s budding sense of self by nagging, criticizing, controlling and comparing their child. They may become suspicious and untrusting. Again, it is finding the balance between protecting and guiding your teen, and allowing your teenager to become his or her own person, that is important.

So what is normal when it comes to being a teenager? It is normal for the teen to be questioninghis or her identity and place in the world. This is a tough process all adolescents go through on the journey to becoming adults. Some teenagers handle this period of rapid and sometimes confusing development better than others, but on the whole, the teens who handle it best have parents who understand the process and want to guide rather than control. We hope this site helps parents of adolescents understand the important distinction between being a tough parent and a strong parent who raises a teen with love. Start by reading The Three Cs of Raising Teens.