If your teen is being disrespectful and you feel yourself burning with rage, the first thing to do is to take very deep breaths. This will help to calm you and to take some of the emotion away in the heat of the moment.

Don't rise to the bait

If your child says or shouts something hurtful, don't take it personally. They may be feeling hurt or angry themselves for a whole number of reasons, and the first person they'll take it out on is the person they feel safest with. If they're having a rant, the chances are they're frustrated. Let them calm down and talk to them afterwards instead.


The pressures adolescents feel these days can be phenomenal. What you might consider trivial might seem like the end of the world to them. Take the time to truly listen to their woes. You can choose a calmer moment and maybe go out for a snack together so you're focused only on them. Sometimes the act of unburdening themselves is enough to feel better.

Don't draw on your own teen years

It's easy to think that as you've been a teen you know what your own child is going through. Remember, times are very different with new pressures, and there's nothing worse than hearing "When I was your age ..." Get informed about common teen woes and see if there are groups of parents whose experiences you can draw from.

Have realistic expectations

Try not to show your disappointment if your child doesn't take the road you hoped for. Kids essentially want to please their parents, but if you've planned for your child to become the future president, chances are you're setting them up to fail. Understand their abilities and what makes them happy. Let them know you'll be there, including when they fall.

Help them make choices

It's hard to let your child make decisions for themselves when you know so much is at stake. Try a little gentle guidance, giving various reasoned options without being too dictatorial. Often a teen will take their parents' advice into account, especially when they think they've come up the idea themselves!

Keep them safe in the digital world

All parents try to keep their kids safe in the real world, but the digital world is a minefield for emotional and physical abuse. Make sure your teens know the dangers and have a trusted loved one connected to them on their social media accounts to keep an eye on things.

Step away

It's hard to hear, but teens don't always want, or even need, your intervention. What is useful is for them to have someone to reach out to in the family other than their parents. A trusted aunt, uncle, or godparent is a perfect compromise -- just make sure they're willing to step in when needed.


It's very tricky letting go of your fledgling adults. But you've got to trust that the values and education you've given them will carry them through the difficult years. They'll have your advice ringing in their ears as they go. From the practical advice of eating enough fruit and veggies, to how they behave morally, it is likely they know what you want for them.

Give them a patron saint

A great family patron for teens is Blessed Pier Giorgio. Teach your child about his incredible life -- he was an athlete as well as bit of a prankster, so that should appeal to them -- and let him, or another favorite saint, be someone they can call on in times of need.


I've saved the best advice for last. Your children always are, and always will be, in God's hands. Pray to Him for guidance, patience, and understanding. And be sure to let your kids know that you're praying for them, too -- it can be a source of comfort, especially if they begin to question their faith in their teen years.