parenting teenagers is like dogs & cats

Remember how your kid used to be a dog?
your teen is not the same person they used to be

Once upon a time your child would leap at you when you came in the door and follow you around the house. This child deeply enjoyed when the two of you would cuddle and snuggle and basically lived to be in your presence. This child was a dog. Now you have a teenage child. This child doesn’t often come when you call unless it’s for food and can even be indifferent towards you and want to be left alone. Sometimes you can touch this child but he or she may snap at you if you try to touch them when they mysteriously don’t feel like being touched one minute after they seemed to enjoy it. Obviously this child is a cat. When it dawns on us that our dog has been replaced by a cat, our reactions can be extreme. We might panic, “what the hell happened to the dog in this house?” Or become angry, “who took my dog!?” Or even pleading, “I never asked for this lazy cat!” We might feel like someone pulled a sudden mean trick on us. Nobody warned us! There was never any discussion about the invisible transformation that apparently took place right underneath our noses.

Understanding your feelings is the key to understanding your teen

What is a parent to do? First of all, notice how this feels. You are probably experiencing some new feelings in relation to your kid. This emotional awareness is absolutely the key to parenting success. And your human emotions are fine and normal; they do not necessarily mean that anything bad is happening or that you aren’t rocking it as a mom or dad. Secondly, own your emotions. For example, your teen may have slept in on a school day and missed an important test, which disappoints you and/or pisses you off. She or he is responsible for that mistake and ideally s/he needs to own it, perhaps by saying something like, “it’s my fault for staying up so late on my phone last night. I need to set 2 alarms from now on and go in to school early tomorrow to write the test.” You are responsible for any feelings you have about this, as in: you need to handle your feelings responsibly and not spray them all over your teen. Ask yourself, ‘if my spouse slept in and missed an important meeting at the office, would I complain to him/her about what a disappointment s/he was?’ Third, remember that you are in completely uncharted territory; this young person has never been the age that they are now, and you have never parented this person before at the age they are now. It is okay to fumble around a bit. Even if other parents seem to have it more together, believe me when I say that we are all in the same boat. And lastly, remind yourself as often as you need to that this whole teenage-thing is temporary, just like so many of the previous stages of child development you have already weathered. Your son or daughter will outgrow being a cat, I promise, just like they outgrew being a dog.

I can help when the going gets tough

You know at the end of all this you want a competent, caring young adult who is connected to you for life. You hope for a kid who you can have fun with who turns into a young adult you can feel proud of. This is not an impossible dream. I can help you get through the swamp.

There's more!

enjoy parenting again!

We all love our teenagers, but how much do we love to actually parent them?
my purpose

There is more information available about parenting your 0-6 year old than any person could ever want to read. What help exists for parenting teens? Much of the advice focuses on how *bad* teenagers are and all the drama they create, or it focuses on how burned out parents are and how much we need a break. I'm not going to offer either of those perspecitves. Instead, I bring inspiration and encouragement, and show you how the best thing you can do for your teen is keep your parenting pedal to the metal during these final intense years of having your child at home, and not give up on your relationship.

  • communicating with your teen

    it's all about listening

  • parenting consultations

    providing you with loving counsel

  • conflict coaching

    preparing for those difficult conversations

  • planning for success

    creating closeness that lasts

Want to work with me?

I am a good match for you if:
You care about your teenager
You want things to go well for your son/daughter, both now and in the future.
You are profoundly interested in who your teenager is as a human being.
You care about self-improvement
You are not afraid to ask yourself hard questions.
You know change does not just happen from wishing and hoping and thinking and praying.
You want to do it differently than your parents did
They tried their very best, and given the circumstances they were dealing with, they did the best they could.
You can do better. You know you want to, and you know you may need some help.
You want to take the long view
You may have a crisis (or two) that needs to get dealt with, but you envision a life-long relationship with your kids.
Mutual respect and closeness can last a lifetime if we plan for them and take the right steps.

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What do you find confusing about parenting your teenager?