As the parent of an adolescent, you’re likely spending a lot of time searching the internet for answers and guidance to understand the changing nature of your relationship with your child. You may be learning about the fascinating changes going on in your child’s brain that is driving much of the behavioral changes that daily test your patience. That’s right; there is a scientific reason for their moody behavior!
Many of the emotional fluctuations you see are coming from changes in their brain. While that doesn’t make it any less challenging, at least you have a better understanding about how to help them.
And then your parents (or your in-laws) come to visit, and they’re quite surprised by the argumentative spirit in their usually happy grandchild. A likely assumption is that you are doing something wrong. After all, this child was a happy, giving child until now.
Before you let your defensiveness create family tension, keep in mind that grandparents have not read the interesting information about brain development that you’ve read. Take time to explain to them that adolescent brains go through rapid development that lasts several years. Their brain is getting them ready to become a young adult who can make their own choices and live independently of their parents. The transition is bumpy and emotional, but necessary.
Dazzle your parents with the ways you are growing and changing with your adolescent so that you can keep your relationship strong as they push against you to achieve independence. Take time to walk them through the changes and help them understand your plan.
Here are a few resources to help you explain this new information to the grandparents:
- A Change of Mind, Not A Change of Heart
- They Love and Hate Me In the Same Hour
- Parenting Adolescent, Part II: Dynamic Changes In Your Adolescent Brain