Preventing the Pre-Teen Parent Breakup


Something happens to a child when they transition to becoming a teen.  Part of that transition for many becomes, “Mom/ Dad, don’t talk to me, you’re not cool enough.” Whether that is vocalized or expressed in a single glare, many parents and teens go through, what feels like, a divorce.  Your tween/teen may not want anything to do with you except for your visa, car keys, and refrigerator.  While this phenomenon may not be 100% preventable, there are precautions that can be taken.  Here are a few suggestions:  


Start Young


Invest in your child early on.  Don’t wait till they’re the captain of the football team with a full-ride to your alma mater to realize that they are a cool kid.  Let your kid know that they were ALWAYS a cool kid and show them that no matter how young.  


Have Play Time


Set aside time everyday, or every week for just 100% play where your child is in charge.  Try to avoid asking questions or giving suggestions.  Let your child be the boss during this one-on-one (try to keep it one-on-one even if you have other children) play session.  Recognize and validate their emotions.  Turn the phone to silent and just be with your child uninterrupted and without distraction.  


For those interested, there is training for parents to learn how to do a form of play therapy with their child.  This is called Child Parent Relationship Training (CPRT).  There are professionals throughout the nation that are certified in training parents in CPRT.  


Be a Safe Person


There is a balance between being too nice and too harsh.  Some parents are so afraid that they’ll ruin their relationship that they don’t set any boundaries or have any consequences.  This is dangerous, because you could end up with a wild child that runs all over you.  It could also be detrimental if all you do is nag, scold, yell, and reprimand.  Your child might fear your judgment and may not feel comfortable coming to you.  Set boundaries, have consequences, and be consistent.  It helps if your child understand the consequences to their actions.  Also avoid calling your child names, build them up, and when they do come to you with something heavy, listen.  Your inner parent may be jumping out of your skin in rage, try to keep your cool, focus on your child’s emotions, and take rational steps.  Whether they are mad that the princess crown broke (because this could be a major crisis) or got their girlfriend pregnant, treat your child and their concern with respect and love.      


If you’re struggling with maintaining a healthy relationship with your teen or perhaps they’re acting out more than usual, please contact Crownview Medical Group. A trained medical professional can help you and your family find peace and harmony again.