Parenting the Adolescent Years


Out of all the work and jobs, I have done, parenting is by far the toughest I have encountered. You hope and pray that you are doing a great job raising well-rounded children – but the *something* happens and you are questioning your parenting skills repeatedly.

When my eldest was still in high school, I thought he would NEVER graduate. Getting him to school wasn’t a problem, but staying in class, was a whole different topic. But alas, he did graduate – whew. And then he lived on my couch for a bit before I said no more, get up and get a job – and he did. But then he totaled my car but soon he was enlisted in the Army, serving his country. And four years later I am in awe – because he continues to stand for what he believes in and live the life he envisions with his wife – how they want to. I learned that I don’t always agree with him, BUT from the looks of it, I’ve done my job well.

I am now again a mom of a teenager of a different kind, the kind that goes to school but struggles to fit in and have friends. The kind that is sensitive and honors the “I am there for you no matter what” system – even if in the end, it means he is getting hurt. And yet, no matter the color of his hair or the ability to play bass guitar, he feels like he doesn’t fit in – and I could tell him that he was meant to stand out but it wouldn’t do any good.

Here he is in the prime of adolescent years, yelling for help on Facebook – waiting for me to reach out to him – when all the while I tell him, I will find someone for him to talk to and he can’t say it. And then my phone rang with the guidance counselor on the other line – my cool sweet sensitive adolescent has reached the point of where he just needed help to reach me.

Parenting is hard. You see the signs of adolescent years and you chalk it up to typical adolescent drama but your kid is screaming it’s something different entirely. My son will be getting help because he asked for it. It doesn’t reflect on my parenting, but it shows there is something more that I as his mother may not be able to handle OR my son doesn’t really want me to worry and “burden” me because that IS the kind of person he is.

He once told me that no one worries about him but that he worries about everyone one else.

Music is his release and I am grateful for that – and yet at the same time the greatest musicians have lost their lives too soon – and I become a bit worried.

I try hard to talk to my kids about their day and their struggles and yet kids don’t always want to reach out to their parents – not because of bad parenting – but because the kids want to protect the parents of the demons that hide inside of them.

I am sad that my son struggles so much but at the same time, I am incredibly grateful that he is showing the strength of wanting to get help.

Here are some signs of indicating that there is a possibility of depression and professional help is needed:

  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Irritability, anger, or hostility
  • Tearfulness or frequent crying
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
  • Lack of enthusiasm and motivation
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

If you observe these or other symptoms, call the pediatrician of a counselor to help you sort it out. There is nothing wrong with seeking help if anything is and will be the best thing you can do for your teen!

Petra is a coach and mentor for creatives, rebels and dreamers who are ready to find the courage to forge their own path because life is too short to feed the fear.

She’s the founder of the Rebel Soul Connection, a community for creatives, rebels, and dreamers to take action with tools, resources, support, and accountability.

Leave a Reply