Parenting Your Teen

Teens haven’t always had the kind of life they do today. The expectations and requirements of teens, and even the entire concept of “adolescence”, have changed considerably over time. The word “adolescent”, which stems from the Latin word for “growing up”, only came into existence in the 15th century! Our modern understanding of adolescence resulted from a better understanding of how this particular phase of life has its own unique challenges and biological, social, cultural, and economic influences. Although we knew that adolescence was a distinct period separate from childhood or adulthood, many early writings on the teenage experience relied more on speculation than actual fact. Contrary to popular belief, abnormal behavior is not a typical part of adolescence (and actually may be indicative of mental health problems), and neither is a period of extreme teenage angst necessary for adolescent development. However, strong emotions (both negative and positive) are commonly experienced during this period of life. These are normal and not a sign of a mental illness.

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