The Sandpaper Years: Raising Teens

The rub of independence-dependence while raising teens feels like sandpaper. As parents and child negotiate, we smooth each others edges and develop new relationships.

Parents have a vision for their teens, and teens have a vision for themselves.  Teens bring vitality, passion, spontaneity and a sense of today to their vision, while parents bring experience, the past and the future to their vision. Together, the two visions have potential to create an optimal path, yet not a path without the sharp, bristling edges of sandpaper-moments that yield discomfort and pain.

It's easy, at times, to see why some parents give up during the teen years as a teen's yearning for independence can exhibit itself like a hurricane or tornado leaving no room in its wake for anyone else's thoughts or ideas.  Yet, good parents know that giving up means losing the battle, and potentially losing your child either psychologically or physically.

It's important to stay the course.  Learn all you can about the teen years.  Make time to discuss and negotiate with your child, but remember your child is your responsibility until he/she is a legal adult.  Create parameters and rules, and write them down.  Seek the counsel and support of teen experts like teachers, guidance counselors and physicians.  Find ways to support your teen's passions and interests, and educate your teen about the facts related to alcohol use, drugs, sexual relationships, safe driving and more.

Hopefully, once the rough edges of the teen years pass, a smooth relationship will result.  I'm certainly not an expert in this arena, but I want to do a good job, and I'm open to any and all words of wisdom as I navigate this sometimes bumpy road.


  1. Raising my teenage daughter continues to be a difficult job. If I don't let her do what she wants, she all of a sudden explodes, saying things like I hate you! It's so hurtful to hear those words over and over as a parent, I can't help but wonder am I doing something wrong? I have been researching some ways I can help my daughter control her outbursts and I have found some good advice on to help her diffuse this anger. I definitely any parent to take a look at this site, I know you will find some valuable advice.

  2. Thanks for the link, Virginia. I'll take a look. As for your daughter, it is so incredibly hard to be a young girl in American society. The media makes young girls think that they all have to be a certain look and personality, and the media values girls' looks over everything else. There's such pressure. I think that's why your daughter gets upset as it's almost impossible to feel good as a young girl in America. Sometimes just acknowledging the way the media affects girls' self esteem can help and also really trying to find places where a child can be themselves and feel good. I wish you well on your journey and thanks again for commenting as your link will help my journey.


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