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"Behind their doors, that's their space, and we're not going to govern what's in there, aside from the fact that there has to be a path for safety, and you shouldn't have rotting food."Parents of teens are united in their mission to get through this time with their sanity intact, but it's a feat often failed."Teens are going through a very stressful time in their lives: They want to please us, but they also want to break away," said Michele Borba, educational psychologist, parent expert and author of "Un Selfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World." "Expectations are huge, the social scene is huge, peer pressure is enormous, college applications are due, peers matter more than we do, and psychologically and physiologically, there are a lot of changes."Add that all up, and you get a melting pot of teenage emotions — and the target of those emotions is quite often the parent.For most parents, these teenage years are the most difficult and frustrating times, but there are ways to ease the tension. Her mother, Candice Blansett-Cummins never tells her or her brother to clean their rooms.Rob Cummins, from left, Jack, 14, Lucy, 18, rescue dog Trixie, and Candice Blansett-Cummins at their Chicago home.
And here's the tricky part: Each teen is different, and you're going to have to read his or her signs."But don't do the Barbara Walters approach — do more of the Kelly Ripa: the relaxed approach," Borba said.
"The steady eye contact really bothers them, and don't be so inquisitive."Alecs Variny, a widow who is raising her 14-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter, tries to create a nightly safe space: the dinner table.
We sit down, and as we eat, I ask them about how school went, how was their such-or-such activity," Variny said.
"Rather than accepting that it is developmentally important for teenagers to question authority, they feel that their teenagers are being disrespectful."That isn't to say that parents should ignore or celebrate the ways that teens become less pleasant: Teens should still be polite.
But you can bypass much of the friction if you see the teenage years as something that your child is passing through rather than something your child is doing to you.
"Good" single parents are supposed to sacrifice for their kids, or so says single mom Shoshana Alexander, a founding editor of the Utne Reader.