Teen Therapy Center Blog

Communication Confidence

You spent hours trying to learn this new way of doing math to help your daughter with her homework. After finally figuring it out… EUREKA! You help her! Unfortunately, she came back from school with a big 60% written in red ink in the corner of her algebra test. Where did it all go wrong? You spent way too many hours to only come up with a 60%! So, you tell your daughter to march back into school tomorrow and ask the teacher why.

When you pick her up from school the next day, your immediate question is “What did your teacher say?” All you get is a defeated shrug. “Didn’t you ask him?” Her long pause is amplified by her hood pulled tightly about her face. The only thing you get from her is a dejected, “I don’t know.”

What happened? Well, you asked a lot from your teen and she wasn’t able to deliver.

What do you mean I asked a lot? I worked my butt off only to get a 60% and deserve to know why. Besides, it’s not that hard to ask her teacher a question. That’s what teachers are there for.

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"I hate my son’s girlfriend... Please help!"

It’s not uncommon for parents to dislike their teen’s significant other. This week, Kent answers a question from a mother who is fed up with her son’s manipulative girlfriend. Here’s the question:

"I hate my son’s girlfriend! He has turned into a totally different person since they started dating. He has always been such a nice, sweet boy and now he is a jerk to the rest of the family. She manipulates him 24/7. If he doesn’t spend all his attention on her, she guilts him by threatening to hurt herself, so now he won’t spend any time with us. I feel like I’m losing my son. Please help!"

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"Should I let my kids decide on the custody schedule during a divorce?"

Divorce can be hard for everyone involved. For this week’s “Tips on Teens” video blog, Kent will answer the following question from a mother who is in the process of getting divorced and is wondering whether her kids should be involved in the decisions regarding custody schedules:

"My husband and I are going through a divorce but we can’t seem to come to terms on a custody schedule. We have three teenage girls and I want to make sure I’m doing what’s best for them. Some of my friends tell me I should let my kids decide on the custody schedule, but I’m not sure that’s a good idea. How do we figure out custody without upsetting our girls anymore than they already are?"

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"Should I force my son to do something extracurricular?"

This week’s "Tips on Teens" comes from a mother who is tired of her son spending all day on his phone and is wondering if she should force her son to do something extracurricular. Here's the question:

"My son is about to start high school and I really want him to do something extracurricular. I don’t care what it is as long as he does something! I can’t stand that he spends so much time staring at his phone. I want him to have fun and meet new people. He says he doesn’t want to do ANYTHING… just go to school and come home to relax. Am I crazy if I force him to do something?"

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"My daughter recently graduated college and now seems paralyzed living at home with no job. What am I supposed to do?"

This week’s "Tips on Teens" features a question from a mother who is unsure how to handle her daughter returning to live at home after graduating college. Here’s the question:

"My daughter recently graduated from a UC with a major in Communications and has returned home. She did very well in school, but now seems paralyzed. She’s not applying for jobs and doesn’t know what to do. She says that she has no idea what she wants to do with her life. I thought that she would be on her way in life by now. What am I supposed to do?"

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"My son told me he is gay and is afraid to tell his mom. What should I do to help?"

Today’s question comes from a father of a teenage son who just came out as gay. Here’s the question:

"I don’t like keeping secrets from my wife, but my 15 year old son has recently come out to me as gay. I am totally fine with it and I want to support him 100%. However, he’s afraid to tell his Mom because she won’t accept it and will probably get very angry. We are a Christian family and love each other very much, but my wife and I differ on the acceptance of homosexuality. What should I do?"

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"How do I get my stepchildren to respect me?"

Kent answers the following question from a stepfather who is struggling to better connect with his stepchildren:

"How do I get my stepchildren to respect me? I’ve been living with them for over two years and they still fight me when I try to get them to do their chores, homework, etc. My step-sons and I all love baseball, and they both want to be good at it. I know baseball well and can coach them but they won’t let me. How do I get them to understand that I’m just trying to help? How do I get them to trust me and follow my lead?"

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"How do we help our kids prioritize school work over video games and social media?"

For this week’s "Tips on Teens” video Kent answers the following question from a parent who is struggling to manage her kids’ screen time:

"How do we help our kids prioritize school work over video games and social media without causing a war? Sometimes we just give in because we are tired of the constant fights, nasty responses, verbal combat, and defiance. It affects the whole family. It’s frustrating and debilitating and it feels like we are hamsters on a wheel repeating the same cycle again and again.”

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"How do I emotionally support my daughter after her father disappeared again?"

For this Tips on Teens Video, Kent answers the following question from a concerned single mother looking for advice in order to continue providing help and support for her 15 year old daughter:

"I am a single mother of a 15 year old daughter. Thankfully my family is very supportive. Her father has tried to be in her life from time to time when she was young but it never lasted. This time my daughter reached out to him and she was so excited that they seemed to be developing a relationship. Unfortunately, he disappeared again and she is so angry and hurt. Are there any pointers or advice on what emotional support I can give her and provide?”

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"What does it mean if my son is on the Autism Spectrum?"

Most kids and teens who are on the Autism Spectrum have an extremely difficult time socializing and relating with others, especially in school settings. Today, Kent answers the following question from a concerned parent:

"My 13 year old son has a lot of trouble keeping friends. His teacher suggested that he might be on the Autism Spectrum. What does that mean? How do I find out if he is?”

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"What do I do about my son and his obsession with becoming a Fortnite streamer?"

Video games are a common source of contention between parents and their kids. Kent answers the following question coming from a concerned and frustrated parent about her son and the extremely popular, Fortnite:

"My son will not stop playing a game called Fortnite. He’s convinced that he can be a professional “video game streamer.” He’s always asking for money to buy more computer parts because he “NEEDS” them in order to have more viewers on his stream. He makes it seem like we’re the ones to blame because he doesn’t have a good enough computer or internet. I am getting sick of it. What do I do?”

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"How do I get my teen to be more independent?"

It’s becoming more and more common for young adults to live at home with their parents until their 20s and even 30s. Kent addresses this concerning trend by answering the following question:

"So I’ve heard this term called “failure to launch” and I’m seriously concerned about my teen. He’s already 17 and can’t seem to do ANYTHING on his own. How do I get him to be more independent and take care of himself? I’m worried he’ll be at home forever!”

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"What should I do after a huge fight with my Teen?"

All parents fight with their kids at one point or another. Today, Kent answers the following question related to conflict resolution after one of the bigger fights:

"My daughter and I recently got into a huge fight and we both lost our cool. I said some things I regret but I don’t really want to apologize because it’ll make it seem like what she did was okay. How do I go about fixing this and getting things back to normal?”

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"Should I be concerned about my teen looking at porn?"

Today’s Tips on Teens is focused on kids’ access to pornography. Kent answers the following question from a parent who is worried about how porn might be affecting her son:

"I’ve caught my 14 year old son looking at porn a couple of times now. Should I be concerned? Aren’t all teens looking at porn? I don’t want to be the over-reacting mom, but I’m concerned with how it may be affecting him. What should I do?"

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"Is it a good idea for my Teen to get a summer job?"

For this week’s segment, Kent discusses teens and summer jobs by answering the following question from a concerned parent:

“My daughter is turning 16 and she doesn’t have much to do outside of homework and use her phone at all hours of the day. Do you think it’s a good idea for her to get a summer job? I’m worried that if she likes it, it might interfere with school if she wants to continue next fall?”

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