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How to Support Teens Emotionally Without Being Overbearing

mother and teen daughter

Raising teens is one of the most challenging tasks of parenting. Your child is undergoing a strange hormone-fuelled metamorphosis, and suddenly, you have a half-adult in your house. While it’s a tough time for parents, it’s just as hard, maybe even harder, for teens.

These formative years are critical, and the wrong approach can lead to problems that will haunt teens throughout their lives. Sounds scary, right? Fortunately, there are ways to support your child without crossing boundaries.

Let’s take a look at some suggestions on how to support your teen, what not to do, and what to do if you get it wrong.

What Constitutes Overbering Behavior From Parents?

Overbearing behaviors from parents refer to actions or attitudes that exceed healthy levels of involvement and control, infringing upon a teen’s autonomy and personal growth. These behaviors often stem from a well-intentioned desire to protect and guide, but they can have negative consequences on a teen’s development.

Overbearing behaviors may include:

  • Excessive monitoring
  • Invading privacy
  • Micromanaging
  • Constantly giving unsolicited advice
  • Making decisions on behalf of teens without their input
  • Setting unrealistic expectations
  • Being overly critical or judgmental
  • Failing to acknowledge and respect the teen’s individuality and boundaries

These kinds of behaviors can hinder a teen’s ability to develop independence, self-confidence, and decision-making skills, and they can strain the parent-child relationship. Parents need to strike a balance between support and allowing their children the space to learn and grow on their own terms.

Ten Ways to Support Your Teen

1. Open Communication

Establish an environment of open and honest communication so teens feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, concerns, and ideas without fear of judgment. Listen actively and validate their feelings to promote a sense of trust.

2. Respect Their Autonomy

Recognize that your teens are developing their own identity and independence. Give them space to make decisions, solve problems, and learn from their experiences. Avoid excessive control or micromanagement.

3. Encourage Decision-Making

Help teens build decision-making skills by encouraging them to consider the consequences of their choices. Offer guidance when needed, but allow them to take responsibility for their decisions and learn from successes and mistakes.

4. Support Their Passions

Show genuine interest and enthusiasm for teens’ interests, hobbies, and goals. Encourage them to pursue their passions, whether it’s through extracurricular activities, creative endeavors, or exploring new interests.

5. Foster Independence

Encourage teens to take on age-appropriate responsibilities and tasks, such as managing their own schedule, handling personal finances, or taking care of household chores. Gradually increase their responsibilities, allowing them to develop essential life skills.

6. Set Realistic Expectations

Establish clear expectations and boundaries, ensuring they are reasonable and achievable. Avoid placing excessive pressure on teens to conform to unrealistic standards or goals that may cause stress or feelings of inadequacy.

7. Provide Guidance, Not Control

Offer guidance and advice when teens seek it, but avoid being overly controlling or intrusive. Help them explore different perspectives, consider alternatives, and think critically while allowing them to form their own opinions.

8. Encourage Problem-Solving

Teach your teens problem-solving skills by helping them identify challenges, explore potential solutions, and evaluate the pros and cons of different options. Empower them to find their own solutions and learn from the process.

9. Respect Their Privacy

Acknowledge and respect teens’ need for privacy. Provide them with a sense of personal space and privacy within the home, such as knocking before entering their room or refraining from unnecessarily prying into their matters.

10. Be a Supportive Presence

Let teens know you are there to support them unconditionally. We live in a  changing world where society’s attitudes are shifting, and what was once the norm is no longer so. Offer encouragement, praise their positive actions, and be a reliable source of emotional support during challenging and good times.

When It Goes Wrong

Let’s get one thing straight: parenting is not an exact science, and you will get it wrong sometimes. When you realize that you have overstepped your teen’s boundaries, it’s essential to address the situation promptly and take responsibility for your actions.

Here are some steps to consider when working to repair the relationship:

Reflect on Your Behavior

Take some time to reflect on your actions and acknowledge how you may have overstepped your teen’s boundaries. Recognize the impact of your behavior when it’s not appropriate or respectful. This self-reflection will help you genuinely empathize with your teen and demonstrate your commitment to making amends.

Apologize Sincerely

Approach teens and apologize sincerely if you overstep their boundaries. Express your remorse, acknowledging the specific behavior that crossed the line and how it made them feel. Take ownership of your actions without making excuses or deflecting blame. Let them know that you understand the importance of their boundaries and that you are committed to doing better in the future.

Learn From the Experience

Reflect on the incident as a learning opportunity for both of you. Discuss ways to prevent similar situations in the future and establish clear boundaries and expectations together. Be open to feedback and suggestions, as two-way communication is valuable in fostering a healthy and respectful parent-child relationship.

Follow Through with Change

Apologizing is just the first step. Following through with meaningful changes in your behavior is crucial. Be mindful of your actions and make a genuine effort to respect your teen’s boundaries going forward. Show consistency in your words and deeds to rebuild trust and reinforce your commitment to a healthier dynamic.

Remember, rebuilding trust takes time, so be patient and understanding. Demonstrating genuine remorse, active listening, and a willingness to change can go a long way in repairing the relationship and fostering a healthier and more respectful parent-teenager dynamic.

A Final Word On Support

Providing the right support without being overbearing is a delicate matter. As much as you should ask your children for forgiveness when you do something wrong, you should also be forgiving toward yourself. The more anger or guilt you harbor, the more likely you will lash out when teens act up.

Hopefully, these tips have helped you understand what healthy support could look like and allowed you to reflect on your parenting style.


About the Author: Angelica Hoover is a health and wellness writer who is committed to helping people live longer, healthier lives. She is part of the editorial team at Vitality PRO, where she covers topics around female longevity, menopause, sleep, and lifestyle optimization.

Photo by cottonbro studio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-woman-looking-in-at-her-daughter-s-bedroom-6471002/

The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.

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