University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

Download PDF
Publication #FAR0009

How to Get Along with Your Teenager1

Rick Kingsley and Suzanna Smith2

Figure 1. 
[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Have you ever felt that every time you talk to your teenager it turns into an argument? Do you ever wonder why your teen is being so difficult? These are common complaints of parents of teenagers. These parents don't understand how a loving child can change so drastically.

Relax. First of all, most parents deal with this. Second, as your children enter their teens, their perception of the world around them is no longer limited to the one once explained by you. Their brain is now capable of complex reasoning, and things that once went unquestioned now must be decided upon for themselves. Your children are also exploring belief systems and ideologies different from that they were raised on. This may explain why they hang around with peers whom you don't approve of, as well as why they challenge your decisions a great deal more often than before.

Teens are beginning to function as individuals, and the heated arguments that are generated are either an effort to grasp what you believe or gain some independence. This tension will die down as they grow up and become more confident in who they are and what they believe. And remember, though it may seem that your child couldn't care less about your opinion (you know—the rolling eyes routine), most teens say that their parents are still the deciding factor in what they believe and who they will eventually become.

Think of all the adults you know that say they swore they would never be like their parents only to become parents and find themselves being just like their parents. Think about it.

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

To listen to the radio broadcast:



This document is FAR0009, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 068 and published December 2007. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Rick Kingsley, undergraduate student, and Suzanna Smith, associate professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, University of Florida, and executive producer, Family Album Radio,UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.