Many parents can see their teens floundering, but aren’t sure what to do about it. They might overdo and become intrusive (which causes their children to want to push them away) or underdo (not say anything and just hope the problem goes away.)

I’ve got some suggestions about how to walk the middle ground and emotionally connect with your teenager.

1) Notice your own tendencies.

When you see your child struggling, what’s your natural instinct? Is it to come down on your child in the form of lectures or punishment? Is it to ask a lot of leading questions? Is it to back away, maybe even to go into denial (“I’m sure everything’s fine”)?

Seeing our children in pain and/or making poor decisions is anxiety-provoking. Think about what the anxiety prompts you to do.

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