Surviving Your Teenager to Tell the Tale




How Does It Feel?


It might feel like your teenager has become a different person – that at times you might look at what once felt like your gorgeous child and now you look at them and ask ‘Who Are You?’


Those few moments might be painful and somewhat bewildering for some parents. For the most part teenagers are really going through a developmental process I refer to as the ‘individualized process’ which is sometimes referred to as the ‘push-pull’ analogy – sometimes they love you and sometimes they really dislike you.


Really teenagers are being squeezed through a process that will ‘hopefully’ help them develop the person they want to be in this world & sometimes it can be very different to what you as their parent might want or wish for them to be. In fact going through this process with them might feel like you are constantly stepping through a minefield.



Surviving Your Teenager



Don’t be afraid of what your teenager can be capable of – if you are uncertain, watch the few videos below that might perhaps support you and your teenager that when things are tough, all is not lost – that when dependent on the right attitude and the right outlook of life… anything is possible. However, we have to keep in mind that nothing is impossible, but nothing comes without a commitment to change.


Man with no arms and legs-Amazing Story


Parenting Support

If you feel like you are lost for words at times, and that the behavior of your child is just so foreign to you, and you just don’t know what to say or do next, then I would suggest it is time you seek some parenting support.

  • You can either book an appointment directly with a psychologist and they will likely guide you toward the next best step for your therapy or if you experiencing high levels of anxiety or any symptoms of depression, then

  • Make an appointment with your GP and speak with them about how you have been feeling and ask for their recommendation on who you could see. If you do go to see your GP and believe you will need to see your psychologist for a period of time, remember to ask about a Mental Health Plan.


Different Parents Make The World Go Round

Remember there are many types of parents and families these days so

  • Biological/Nuclear Family’s – are those that have Father, Mum and Children or perhaps Adopted Children

  • Step Family – Are those families whose parents have experienced a divorce and have joined together their children (Father has had three of his own and Mother has had two of her own=Step Family)

  • Blended Family – Are those families who might have children of their own from a previous marriage, however Mum and Dad have then decided to have a child of their own too in their present marriage.


Different families bring different challenges:

For example:

  • In all families Mum and Dad might parent differently – so who gets to decide which rules, expectations or boundaries are set?

  • All families struggle with schedules and routines, but in step or blended families, amalgamating previous schedules and rules into one family can mean there is an adjustment period – thus balancing out everyone’s calendars and routines can be a real challenge. For example in a blended family, if the father of the biological children from the previous marriage normally wants to provide his child with a 16 year old party, what happens about inviting his to be 16 year old child’s half-brother/sister to their party? .. and they are categorically stipulating that they have to come or else??!!! It gets complicated at the best of times right?

  • In addition to all the complications likened to the above, we have some of the following??



  • Your teenager spends most of their time in their room and does not seem to converse or spend much time with the family any more

  • When you speak with them they are more rude than respectful and

  • It seems like you just don’t understand anything anymore, or that just you don’t know anything

  • It seems that you can never get anything right even when you think you are communicating with your child

  • It doesn’t take much for them to storm off in anger and frustration no matter how hard you try to meet with them half way

  • They refuse to do their chores

  • They stay up all hours of the night and spend many hours in bed

  • None of the boundaries you had are adhered to any more and more often than not

  • Communication is more about shouting or perhaps ‘nothing at all’ and that conflict between the children or between you and them seems to be more than the norm these days

  • There is little participation with other members of the family

  • Or that they seem to take advantage of every opportunity they can get and that

  • No matter how much you try to trust them, they seem to defy you or are found to be lying or abusing the trust they did have


Your teenager doesn’t have to be exhibiting all of the above behaviours to be acting like a typical teenager, but at times it just seems so hard for the ‘parent’ to feel like they can survive this time with their child. Teenagers only need to behave in some of the ways mentioned above to feel like it’s going to be impossible to get through..


Most importantly in your child’s life are that they somehow through some means feel supported and connected to you and much of enabling them to feel that way is through a myriad of means…..


Survival Parenting Tips

It is very important to try and maintain some sense of communication with our children – some tips


Just One – Communication …

  • Talk to your children, but don’t give them the responsibility for making the final decisionExplain to them that some things are adult decisions, but express to them that you would like to start giving them some responsibility for things they want to manage, but that they have to earn your trust to do so.

  • Help them understand that with responsibility comes commitment to the things they decide to do and that they shouldn’t make these decisions impulsively. Entice them to think about how they are going to stay committed to the things they make decisions about – practically, emotionally and mentally

  • Have a regular date with your child where that time belongs to the two of you, so that the opportunity to open up and explore things going on in their lives is there.

  • Ensure your children understand that even though they are growing up, there are boundaries around behavior and routine and that this to help instill, trust respect, honour and understanding of one another in the home.

  • When communicating with your child, don’t attribute every problem to what happened in the past – try to stay focused on the issue at hand now and go through with them how to problem-solve for the issue now and any possible that might occur in the future.

  • Only review the past in a way that highlights to them that perhaps there might be a pattern of some sort and if what’s occurring is not positive or supportive and not going towards what they want to do or would like to happen – what could they change then?


This type of collaborative process in your communication style with your teenager will grow and develop as they get older … it will most definitely be a developing process … so take your time to build trust and develop boundaries of respect and appreciation of what each of you brings into the relationships within the family.


This is most certainly just the beginning, so if you would like to engage further with how to ‘Survive Your Teenager’ please book an appointment with Michelle Barratt.


For your information, Michelle Barratt’s main priority to her clients as a psychologist is to offer a therapeutic environment where psychological sessions are based on a foundation of confidentiality, trust, and empathy. Fundamentally, it’s about working with where the client is at – mind, body and soul. She believes that this foundation is fundamental to creating a therapeutic alliance and that it is this type of environment that will help provide her clients with the best chance of understanding their outcomes and reaching their goals. In addition, Michelle believes that the session is entirely about respecting the client’s perspective, developing awareness and supporting their experience on their journey is the key to change.


Overall, when an individual is suffering mental health, or trauma, it can often leave a person feeling a range of emotions; some of these might be self-blame, guilt, worthlessness, helplessness and low levels of self-esteem. These types of emotions are very powerful and will more often than not obscure how we see ourselves, and the world.





Author: Michelle Barratt

           Clinical Psychologist





35 Wondall Road


Qld 4178

Tel: 0401 924 331 

Fax:  (07) 3009 0553


Suite 37, Level 1 Benson House,

No. 2 Benson Street, TOOWONG,

Qld 4066.

Tel: 0411 731 516

Fax: (07) 3009 0075


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Michelle Barratt is a Fellow of the Clinical College at the Australian Psychological Society.