Parenting teenagers: what’s normal?
You’re not alone! Parenting teenagers has never been easy and each generation of parents faces new challenges. It’s natural to experience mood swings as an adolescent right into your 20s, but many young people are experiencing higher levels of mental health problems than ever before. We know that as a parent or caregiver, it can be difficult to know what’s normal and when you should worry. The websites and books in the section below have been chosen to help you discover what’s going on in your teenager’s brain, how to communicate effectively and where to look for help and reliable information. See the internet and gaming section for up-to-date advice on social media and keeping safe online.
Parenting young adults: help and advice
Just because your child is now a young adult, doesn’t mean you will stop worrying about them and many of the links in the sections below are useful for parents of young adults too. Find more resources on the self-help for young people page, including a section for students. Most colleges, universities and large employers will have counselling support available. If you are worried about your child, you can contact their GP and let them know your concerns, although the GP will not be able to share any information with you without your child’s consent, which needs to be noted on their records.
Websites and videos for parents
- NHS 0-18 years section on children’s mental health Lots of links and videos for parents. Useful green/amber/red guidance on what’s normal and when to seek help.
- Keep CAMHS and Carry On! A series of podcasts about mental well-being for parents and young people of all age
- Parent’s Toolkit: Tips and Advice (Teenagers) BBC Bitesize has put together lots of articles from experts here, with tips for your own and your children’s well-being. Highly recommended.
Excellent website both for teenagers and parents. The section ‘My amazing brain’ explains more about what’s going on in the developing brain. Practical and easy to read e.g. ‘Your teenager’s behaviour towards you isn’t personal; the ability to think rationally, make good judgements and feel empathy is lowered during adolescence’!
- Communicating with teens
Articles and videos on common challenges and questions for parents of teenagers from the fabulous charity Family Lives.
- Recognising signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, self-harm, and what to do
- Parenting teenagers
Practical advice on dealing with common teen issues from Relate, plus you can chat with their counsellors online. Discusses everything from problems with schoolwork, drugs, alcohol, sex and relationships, and behaviour problems.
Books for parents
- Blame My Brain: the Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed by Nicola Morgan. This gives a good insight into why teenagers struggle with many issues and gives tips about how parents can help. “It’s funny as well as interesting and will completely change the way you deal with situations” (Parent) Also quite highly rated by young people themselves!
- How to Talk so Teens Will Listen and Listen so Teens Will Talk
by Adele Faber. Highly recommended- practical, full of examples and illustrations.
- Get Out Of My Life …But First Take Me and Alex Into Town
by Tony Wolf and Suzanne Franks. Funny, practical and insightful.
‘I can now see that some of my son’s rejection of me is a very natural part of his development, in order for him to be able to separate and become independent. This book explains that this is quite confusing and upsetting for teenagers too (Parent)
- You don’t understand me: the young woman’s guide to life
by Dr. Tara Porter is written for teenage girls and young women but is a useful read for their parents too. A warm and compassionate look at some of the problems facing young women today.
Hormone hijack 14-19 yrs.
A video about changes in the developing brains of teenagers, including mood swings and why they need so much sleep!
Click on each topic below to find advice for parents and for young people
divorce or separation
Tics and Tourettes
bladder problems and constipation
and Bipolar disorder