Navigating Teenhood: And Rediscovering Yourself

As your child hits their tween years, it can feel quite overwhelming. With all the ups and downs, laughter and eye rolls, have you ever considered how this journey impacts you as the parent or caregiver?

It's important to give yourself some credit. After all, you are the superhero behind the scenes, ensuring homework is done, and the fridge is stocked with snacks. But being a parent is about more than just navigating the teen landscape. It's also about embracing your own journey of growth and self-discovery alongside your child.

Finding yourself again 

Shifting roles

The dynamics between you and your teen change during adolescence, meaning you must adapt your role as they seek more independence. Think of yourself more as a guide than a caretaker.

Emotional rollercoaster

As children enter their teenage years, their bodies undergo changes which can impact their sense of self. As a parent or guardian, it can be exhausting to be constantly affected by their mood swings. It can be challenging to maintain a clear perspective when you're being hit with a wave of emotion from your teenager. And to make things worse, they may brush it off and tell you to 'chill out'. The constant conflicts and growing pains can affect your emotional well-being.

Letting go

Letting go of control can be tricky, but you must let your teenager make their own decisions. Still, this process can profoundly affect your identity as you balance guidance and autonomy. The parents I work with often express the challenges of this balance, as it's constantly changing and evolving in a non-linear fashion as your teen ages. It's not just you feeling this way; many parents feel the same way, and it's OK to experience these struggles.

Communication challenges

It can feel like you are conversing with an (often more than one) entirely different entity from the primary-age kid you used to have. Communication barriers frequently arise during adolescence, and finding new ways to connect with your teenager can be a journey of self-discovery for parents. 

Help create an environment where your teen feels heard and understood with:

Active listening:

  • Practice active listening by giving your full attention when your teen is talking. Put away distractions like phones or other devices.
  • Reflect back on what you've heard to ensure you understand correctly. This not only demonstrates attentiveness but also clarifies any potential misunderstandings.

Open-ended questions:

  • Instead of asking closed questions that prompt simple "yes" or "no" answers, try asking open-ended questions to encourage your teen to share more about their thoughts and feelings.
  • For example, instead of asking, "Did you have a good day?" you might ask, "What was the best part of your day?" This invites a more detailed and meaningful response.
  • You could even turn it into a fun game by asking ice-breaker questions like "If you could have one superpower, what would it be?" or "Would you rather be able to talk to animals or read people's minds?" - I've worked with a lot of young people in my time. You should never underestimate the power of an ice-breaker!

Finding common ground:

  • Identify shared interests or activities they are passionate about, whether a hobby, sport, or TV show. 
  • Be open to their interests, even if they differ from your own. Showing genuine curiosity about their world can help you build better communication and understanding. 

Remember that building better communication is a gradual process that requires patience.

Parental peer pressure

Parents and carers face immense societal pressures during their child's adolescence. Teens may remind you of how you measure up as parents, but it's essential to focus on your child's well-being rather than external perceptions. Don't compare yourself to others; set boundaries around your parenting choices without conforming to societal expectations.

What helps?


You must look after yourself - prioritise your well-being and mental health. Only when you are healthy and happy can you be there for those who need you. Let me explain it with an analogy. When you are on a plane, the flight attendant instructs us to put on our oxygen masks first before assisting others. This is because we won't be able to help anyone if we run out of oxygen ourselves. So, always remember that taking care of yourself is crucial and should be your top priority.

Rediscovering personal passions

Rediscover your interests and hobbies; what did you like doing as a kid? Have you considered joining an art class or taking up tap dancing? Now is the time. Maintaining a sense of who you are is vital as your children become self-sufficient. 

Support systems

It's important to have a support system in place. Reach out to your friends and family for help and connection. Our social circles play a big role in shaping our identity, and it's vital to have people to turn to when we need support.

If you're struggling with a sense of loss or confusion about your identity outside of being a parent, counselling can be a valuable resource. Don't feel like you have to figure it out alone - I specialise in adolescent issues and am here to help. Get in touch to learn more about how we can work together.