The conflict between Parents and Teens.
Shutting down or feeling shut down?
When we see children having tantrums we naturally accept it is because they cannot verbalise what they need. However, by the time they can use their voices, it's assumed they can communicate what is wrong with them and so it
is a shock to find once they reach the teen stage, they don't talk or you are unable to find out what's wrong with them no matter how much parent-digging you do.
One of the biggest reasons teens shut down is fear of being shut down, told to pull it together, get on with it, you will be fine, there's nothing wrong with you, you are so ungrateful etc.
These responses silence them and don't leave much room for them to explore how they are truly feeling. A teen or adult who regularly expresses anger/rage is not dissimilar to a toddler expressing anger/rage because they feel they don't have a voice, they are feeling unable to express what they need.
Their independence vs your expectations?
You could have provided the safest environment for them growing up and yet you are still shocked as to why they are frustrated, angry and just don't talk to you anymore. It's heartbreaking for you to feel rejected and for the thoughts that then enter your mind of "what did I do wrong" in equal measure.
When children reach the teen years they suddenly find themselves striving for independence and freedom which can be hard for you as parents to let go of. The need to fit in and peer pressure becomes huge and spending time with their friends becomes a top priority, leaving you feeling even more rejected and hurt.
You then find yourself in a power struggle because of your expectations and your teen's need for separation, independence, trust and a listening ear when they want it not when you want them to have it.
Finding new ways to connect to your son/daughter can be exactly what they need. Just because they want to
hang out with their friends, doesn't mean they don't still need you.
Find team-building hobbies you can do together, take them out for tea at their fave place, and accommodate their friends.
Past or present feelings?
If you are left feeling resentful towards them, ask yourself, how come? Do you feel injustice at the way they treat you, if so, what are your expectations of them? Are you feeling short-tempered towards their needs?
Children and teens can often trigger parts of ourselves that were rejected or neglected during our own teen/childhood and our responses are not always a response which is from the present moment but actually from the past.
Unresolved trauma stays in our bodies and plays out in our present relationships with others.
Empathy for yourself and them.
If you find yourself feeling guilty because of your response towards your teen, take some time for both of you to cool off and then apologies for your part in it and show them that you are human and sometimes you get things wrong. They will appreciate this in the long run even If they don't show it now.
Show them it is safe to talk to you by allowing them to be who they are (providing they are safe) without your judgments or opinions.
What happened to you?
Look back at your time as a teen, how were you treated? Did you get what you needed from your parents or was it a difficult time? Were you left feeling alone, rejected, unloved or unfairly treated?
Looking at these questions and understanding what went on for you could be a key to unlocking some negative feelings towards yourself or your teen!
When you accept yourself which includes your past, you are then able to accept others and their life choices which in turn reduces the number of conflicts you may find yourself in.
Self-knowledge + self-awareness = self-acceptance