Healthy Kids - Summer 2021


GROWI NG UP Teen Talk Communication is key when it comes to tough teen topics

and doing the opposite of what they’re told, they’re actually exerting their individual identity and independence. The mistake parents often make is to mirror this when interacting with their defiant teen and engaging in a back- and-forth “verbal judo match,” says Mueller. The behaviors characteristic of teenage rebellion—ranging from being argumentative to using drugs or alcohol and having sex at an early age or in an irresponsible way—can stem from conflict with parents or breakdowns in trust, respect or communication. “It’s easy to become reactive to what you’re seeing in front of you,” she adds, “but it’s important that

RAISING A TEENAGER CAN BE DAUNTING. Many parents are left wondering who replaced their sweet child with the angsty, emotional person currently residing under their roof. Though the raging hormones and boundary testing that come with the territory are normal and largely unavoidable, maintaining open communication as your teen develops can go a long way. “There is nothing that shakes a parent’s confidence in their ability like adolescents do,” says Sandy Mueller, senior director of Behavioral Health Services at Rady Children’s. As frustrating as it may be, when adolescents are questioning authority, talking back, arguing


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