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How We Like Our Teenagers: Coltish and Unruly

Despite our communal anxiety about keeping adolescents in check, our culture still seems to like its teenagers a little coltish and unruly. You see this in parents’ bemused tolerance for their kids’ antics, and in the charity afforded them when rude or irresponsible; “typical teenage behavior” it’s called, which is unfortunate. Teenagers can do better, […]

Teenager Not Motivated For School?

  A colleague wrote me asking for my ideas about how to work in therapy with adolescents who have turned off to school:     “… Homework is one issue that continues to be a dilemma. As you know, there is the parental expectation that their kids do well in school … get good grades, […]

Five Reasons Why Your Teenager Won’t Take Your Advice

Ever wonder why your teen takes a pass on your advice? Especially when you know “for a fact” that it’s really good? Here are five reasons why teenagers might look elsewhere for solutions or support, or nowhere at all. It can explain those times when they stick with a bad decision even though they know […]

Getting Your Teenager to Talk -­ Part II

  Actually, it’s not about “getting” your teen to talk. That’s been part of the problem all along – kids feeling tugged at and interrogated and cajoled into conversations that don’t interest them. I stuck that phrase in the title because, if nothing else, it captures the urgency behind so many parents’ attempts to learn […]

“Like Pulling Teeth…” Getting Your Teen to Talk

monosyllabia – a reactive disorder of adolescence characterized by the tendency to speak only in one syllable words   Just kidding. I made up that thing about monosyllabia.  But the following story is true. Fifteen year old Katie walked in the front door of her home and dropped her book bag on the ground.  She […]

Michael Gurian: If I Were a Parent of a Boy…

For the next several months a group of writers focused on the issues of raising boys to become men are collaborating through the writing and sharing of blog posts in order to bring greater awareness to the unique challenges parents and the community face in the 21st Century.  Twice a month these writers will be […]

Have a Moody Teenager? What to Do When You’re Tired of “Walking on Eggshells”

      “Julia is so sensitive I can’t say anything to her without it causing a big blow-up!” exclaimed Julia’s mom. “How am I supposed to raise this kid? I’ve got to be able to talk with her—she’s only fifteen!”  Julia’s mother had a good point. She did need to be able to “parent” […]

Yelling at Your Teen: A Big Disrespect

It’s a sad day in America when we need a study to tell us that yelling at teenagers to discipline them makes them more depressed and their bad behavior worse. Teenagers themselves would have told us the same thing, for a lot less money. Most parents yell at their kids because they’re frustrated, not because […]