The Fear of Parenting Your Teen
By Klaus Klein MA, Registered Clinical Counsellor
Most parents have felt some kind of fear when it comes to parenting. It is a natural part of being a parent because we care and want to protect our loved ones and those close to us. However, fear can also get in the way of a healthy parenting relationship. Fear cuts you off from your other positive and caring resources that are important in a healthy relationship. As parents you may not be aware of your fear and how that plays out in interactions with your teen.
Common fears are
A common approach to handling fear as a parent is to focus on controlling the behaviour in the son or daughter that is causing the fear. However, this usually causes more resentment and anger in the teen which leads to more frustration and fear in parents. If the pattern continues then both teens and the parents begin to behave in destructive and negative ways.
Common Parent Behaviours where Fear is a common underlying factor
As parents we are not perfect and do make mistakes from time to time when our emotions get the best of us. However, despite your best intentions, when actions and words consistently come from a place of fear teens will usually want to avoid you altogether and behaviours continue to get worse.
What You Can Do
As a parent, take some time to look at yourself, what your fears are, and how you handle your fear. Don’t expect to eliminate fear, but be aware of how fear impacts your behaviour especially in relation to your son or daughter. Ask yourself what would be different for you if could put fear on hold and instead focus on your ability to:
Some fears are easier to deal with than others. Some fears can actually be quite old and have been with you before you even became a parent. Feeling isolated and alone with fear usually creates more fear which creates more negative behaviours. Understanding what your fears are and how they impact you is a first step to taking responsibility for your side of the relationship with your teen. It is a healthy place to start a change that can bring you closer with your teen rather than pushing them away. Often teens are more afraid of their parents fear and reaction than they are of the consequences themselves. Working on your side of the pattern can reduce a barrier that is getting in the way of having a more positive relationship with your teen that leads to better behaviour for everyone.
Klaus Klein, MA, RCC
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