The clothes you wear. The food you eat. The color of your bedroom walls. Where
you go and how you get there. The people you hang with. What time you go to bed.
What do these things have in common, you're asking? They're just a few examples
of the many hundreds of things that your parents controlled for you when you were
a child. As a kid, you didn't have a say in very much that went on; your parents made
decisions about everything from the cereal you ate in the morning to the pajamas you
wore at night. And it's a good thing, too — kids need this kind of protection
and assistance because they aren't mature enough to take care of themselves and make
careful decisions on their own.
But eventually, kids grow up and become teens. And part of being a teen is developing
your own identity — one that is separate from your parents'. It's totally normal
for teens to create their own opinions, thoughts, and values about
life; it's what prepares them for adulthood.
But as you change and grow into this new person who makes his or her own decisions,
your parents may have a difficult time adjusting. They aren't used to the new you
yet — they only know you as the kid who had everything decided for you and didn't
In most families, it's this adjustment that can cause a lot of fighting between
teens and parents. You want to cover your walls with posters; they don't understand
why you don't like your kiddie wallpaper anymore. You think it's OK to hang at the
mall every day after school; they would rather that you play a sport.
Clashes like these are very common between teens and parents — teens get
angry because they feel parents don't respect them and aren't giving them space to
do what they like, and parents get angry because they aren't used to not being in
control or they disagree with the teens' decisions.
It's easy for feelings to get very hurt when there are conflicts like these. And
more complicated issues — like the types of friends you have or your attitudes
about sex and partying — can cause even bigger arguments, because your parents
will always be intent on protecting you and keeping you safe, no matter how old you
The good news about fighting with your parents is that in many families the arguing
will lessen as parents get more comfortable with the idea that their teen has a right
to certain opinions and an identity that may be different from theirs.
It can take several years for parents and teens to adjust to their new roles, though.
In the meantime, concentrate on communicating
with your parents as best you can.
Sometimes this can feel impossible — like they just don't see your point
of view and never will. But talking and expressing your opinions can
help you gain more respect from your parents, and you may be able to reach compromises
that make everyone happy. For example, if you are willing to clean your room in order
to stay out an hour later, both you and your parents walk away with a good deal.
Keep in mind, too, that your parents were teens once and that, in most cases, they
can relate to what you're going through.