Ever hear the saying “don’t throw stones in glass houses?” For many teens and pre-teens, life feels like a glass house. All day, they make sure their hair is perfect, they are acting “cool,” they are supportive and nice and happy about other people’s ideas… and then they come to treat you like dirt! Many parents seek out teenage psychologist services and child psychologists because it seems like they are stuck taking the brunt of their child’s anger. How can you make sense of this and bring things back to being respectful ? Read on to find out!
The “Glass House” of Teenage Social Life
Your daughter’s “BFFs” may be anything but—in fact, many girls especially report friendships that end quickly, rumors that spread like wildfire, and low tolerance of “unusual” behaviors by peers. They are like delicate china, the kind you bring out for company but know not to be too rough on, or they break. Your son may have different challenges, but relationships with boys are just as fraught with jealousy, displays of pride and power, teasing, alienation, and demands for social compliance. As much as kids need the influences of their peers at this age, these relationships are unstable at best. The slightest pressure could cause them to crumble.
The Indestructible Parent
On the other hand, as a parent, you get to be the reliable, sturdy, unbreakable part of your child’s life. Maybe you are a support beam in the center of that glass house, or a foam ball, or a pillow. Not glamorous, not flashy, and even when you’re thrown against the wall or filled with negativity… you survive. You’re strong, so strong that your child sees you as indestructible! “Clearly” (according to your child!) you can handle the anger, the outbursts, the name-calling. You are not another fragile relationship that must be wrapped in bubble wrap—you are so much more.
A Reality Check
Many people lash out at those closest to them for these very reasons. When you keep in mind that your teen is still growing and developing, it makes sense that they sometimes still think of you as “SuperMom” or “SuperDad” who “clearly” can’t be hurt by their child’s actions. But just like you had to teach your toddler that hitting hurts moms and dads, you need to help your teen to realize that even SuperParents can be hurt emotionally by their child’s words and actions. Help her talk through her feelings and what she is really upset about, or encourage him to vent about stress and vulnerability with friends. Sharing your own emotional experience and suggesting coping skills can help your child to manage these feelings more effectively—instead of using you as an emotional punching bag.
If you’ve tried your best strategies and still feel like your child’s behavior toward you is unacceptable, consider working with a skilled child psychologist in Littleton. Dr. Lazarus and his therapy dog, Zeke, have helped hundreds of parents and teens to see eye-to-eye again!