Why are teenagers so hard to figure out?

by | Sep 29, 2023 | Family life, Relationships | 0 comments

Decoding the teenage brain

Think why teenagers are so hard to figure out? Raising teenagers is undoubtedly a wild roller coaster ride, complete with unpredictable twists, turns, and loop-de-loops.

As parents, we often find ourselves questioning if we are on the right track or if we’ve somehow missed a crucial parenting memo. If you have teenage children, you’re likely nodding your head in agreement, knowing all too well the unique challenges this phase brings.

In this exploration, let’s delve into the complexities of parenting teenagers, unravel the mysteries of their behaviour, and discover science-backed insights that might just make you a better parent in the long run.

The Common Ground:

How many times have you engaged in conversations with other parents about the trials and tribulations of raising teenagers?

The stories are remarkably similar—teens retreating to their rooms, mood swings that rival a pendulum, and communication barriers that seem insurmountable. It’s a narrative that we all parents can relate to irrespective of cultures and geographical boundaries.

In my role as a teacher, I’ve witnessed this teenage enigma unfold repeatedly. Teachers often find themselves in a position akin to that of parents, becoming the eyes and ears in a classroom filled with adolescents trying to navigate the complexities of growing up.

The question that echoes in both teaching and parenting realms is, “How do we break through to them?”

Cracking the Code:

The key to understanding a teenager lies in two scenarios: first, when they are genuinely interested in learning, and second, when they perceive you as a trusted ally.

As parents, you wield considerable influence during this transitional phase from teenagehood to adulthood. The conversations you have with your children, no matter how challenging, contribute significantly to their understanding, sooner or later.

Consistency in your approach, genuine concern for their well-being, setting reasonable expectations, and yes, even injecting a bit of humor into the mix (though it may not always land well) can serve as catalysts for positive change.

It’s a gradual process, often leaving parents and caregivers feeling drained and defeated. Yet, with faith, patience, and understanding, you can rebuild the bridge to your teenagers’ hearts.

Parenting Realities:

Acknowledging the challenges of parenting teenagers is crucial.

The emotional roller coaster they ride is a part of their journey, and on the other end, they often emerge as loving, caring individuals—sometimes even becoming your best friends.

It’s essential not to succumb to feelings of failure but to recognise that parenting teenagers is a complex journey, rife with highs and lows.

Understanding the Science:

Beyond the anecdotes and shared experiences, there’s a fascinating realm of science that sheds light on why teenagers behave the way they do.

Understanding the neurological and psychological changes occurring in their brains can be a game-changer for parents.

To understand how a child brain develops from the time they are born until they are in mid/late twenties, read my blog to learn about the research done on this.

Teenagers’ brains undergo significant development, particularly in areas related to decision-making, risk-taking, and emotional regulation.

The prefrontal cortex, responsible for reasoning and decision-making, is still maturing, while the limbic system, associated with emotions, is highly active.

This neurological imbalance often contributes to impulsive behaviour, heightened emotional responses, and a seeming aversion to reason.

Moreover, hormonal fluctuations play a substantial role in their mood swings. The surge of hormones, coupled with the ongoing brain development, creates a perfect storm of emotions that can be overwhelming for both teenagers and their parents.

Here are 6 Tips for Parenting Teenagers that may help you:

Armed with this knowledge, how can parents navigate the teenage years more effectively?

  1. Communication is Key: Foster open and non-judgmental communication. Create an environment where your teenager feels safe expressing themselves.
  2. Be Consistent: Consistency in rules and expectations provides a stable framework for teenagers. It helps establish a sense of security.
  3. Empathy and Understanding: Try to empathise with their challenges. Understanding their perspective fosters a stronger connection.
  4. Reasonable Expectations: Set realistic expectations, focusing on essentials like hygiene, respect, and communication.
  5. Humor as a Tool: While humor may not always be the solution, it can defuse tense situations. A shared laugh can be a powerful bonding experience. But know when this is appropriate.
  6. Seek Professional Support: Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed. Therapists and counsellors can provide valuable insights and support for both parents and teenagers if the situation is turning from bad to worse. A coach can resolve many of the conflicts with tried and tested approach. To learn the difference between a therapist, counsellor and coach read FAQ

The Path Forward:

Parenting teenagers is undeniably challenging, but it’s also a transformative journey. With knowledge, patience, and a commitment to understanding, you can navigate the teenage roller coaster more effectively.

It’s an exploration into uncharted territories that, with a bit of knowledge, patience, and understanding, can transform into a rewarding adventure for both parents and teens alike.


Understanding teenagers involves an intricate interplay of biological, psychological, and societal factors that shape their unique journey through adolescence.

But remember, amidst the challenges, the swinging hormones, eye rolls, and unpredictable behaviour, the journey of parenting teenagers is universal.

It’s crucial to remember that, just like every generation before, this too shall pass. Beyond the occasional turbulences lies and opportunity for connection and growth

As parents you can embark on a journey towards a stronger, more understanding relationship with your teenager.

Happy parenting!

Consider a FREE 15 minutes coaching discovery call as the first step to putting overwhelm and anxiety behind you.

Hi, I’m Kanika

I support parents, educators, professionals, business owners, home makers and young adults to Reinvent, Rediscover & Redefine your life so that, you take actionable steps using proven strategies and tools to succeed and become the best you can be in your role. Learn through my masterclasses or 1:1 personalised support.

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