Am I a Failure? A Parent’s Perspective on Raising a Challenging Teenager

Though it’s tough to admit, parents judge each other, especially when kids are young. Whatever your child does, good or bad, seems to be a reflection of your parenting. So, what about when you’re raising a challenging teen? Are you a failure as a parent? You may think so, but it’s all a matter of perspective.

It’s a New Generation

You may be trying to parent the same way your parents tried raising you. Remember, things are different for our kids than they were for us growing up. Most kids wouldn’t dream of talking back to parents or teachers long ago. Much of that is due to the way the media (traditional media and social media) glorifies and normalizes teens disrespecting adults and authority figures, and not because of your parenting skills.

Teen Rebellion Is Normal

What has stayed the same for decades is the need for teens to push the envelope during their adolescence. At about nine years old, your otherwise gentle, loving child may have begun to change. There are four causes for teen rebellion that you can’t control and that is not your fault as a parent:

  • Hormones are shifting and raging to make your teen’s moods erratic.
  • Social media pressures and encourages teens to create secret accounts that lead to dangerous behaviors. It’s nearly impossible for parents to control and monitor a teen’s social media behavior.
  • The nucleus accumbens, the region of the brain that makes your teen feel pleasure, is very well-developed. That means your teen will engage in risk-taking behavior without caring about any of the outcomes.
  • The prefrontal cortex, which controls your teen’s judgement, understanding of consequences, impulse, and emotional control, is immature, making him or her moody and impulsive.


Don’t Always Believe Parental Bragging

It may feel like you are the only parent in your town with a troubled teen, especially when other parents use social media to boast about their happy families. However, showboating parents may not be telling the full story. There are plenty of posts about full scholarships, graduations with top honors, amazing internships, and glowing prom pictures. Remember that all parents have elevator stories and social media is just a highlights reel of real life. What may have appeared perfect one day can turn sour the next, including a child dropping out of school, being embroiled in an abusive relationship, or carrying out a suicide.

You’re Braver Than You Think

As a parent, you may have taken on multiple roles—you’ve acted as a parole officer by monitoring your child, you’ve been a nurse trying to find the right medication or therapy, and you’ve strived to be a counselor by being more understanding toward your teen. Though this may have backfired and taken an enormous toll on your health and well-being, the most important thing to remember is that you were willing to be resilient and persistent, and that’s pure bravery.

If you feel like you’ve exhausted every road and your home feels unsafe with your troubled teen living there, there is hope and there are places that can meet your child’s needs. Visit Turning Winds, where you’ll find a caring, compassionate, and experienced community that understands struggling teens. After decades of experience working with teens, our experts know that teens are able to make changes that lead them to happy, productive, and loving lives with their families.  For more information on how our teen residential treatment center may help your child who is struggling with mental health please give us a call at 800-845-1380



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John Baisden, Jr

John Baisden Jr is the father of seven inspiring children, and he is married to Kara, the love of his life. Together they have created a family-centered legacy by leading the way with early childhood educational advancement. John loves to write and is an author of a children’s book, An Unlikely Journey and plans to publish additional books. Show More

John is a visionary in his work and applies “outside-the-box” approaches to business practice and people development. He is the Founder of Turning Winds, along with several other organizations. He has extensive experience launching and developing organizations. His skills include strategic planning, promoting meaningful leader-member movement, organizational change, effective communication, project management, financial oversight and analysis, digital marketing and content creation, and implementing innovative ideas through influential leadership. As a leader, John seeks to empower others and brand success through collaborative work. His vision is to lead with courage, grit, truth, justice, humility, and integrity while emphasizing relational influence rather than focusing on the sheens of titles, positions, or things.

Finally, John is passionate about life and promoting equity among those who are often overlooked because of differences that frequently clash with the “norm.” He lives in Southern Idaho and loves the outdoors and the life lessons that can be learned in such an informal environment.

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