How to hold emotionally safe space for your troubled teen?

When you see a troubled teenager, do you only see behavioral and learning problems?

Are you able to get a sense of underlying emotional troubles?

Parenting troubled tweens and teens can be a roller coaster ride and it requires a good amount of work, patience, and consistent effort from parents.


They are using their own devised, defense mechanism to cope up with these troubling issues and come across as ANGER, DEFIANCE, REBEL, ADDICTION, LYING, DISCONNECT, OR ESCALATING CONFLICTS.

As they feel being judged, not understood, nor being heard or acknowledged, they start seeking their peers help who not only hear them but are non-judgemental as well , being in the same boat.

That widens the emotional gap between teens and parents more and the troubles escalate.

troubled teen

What can parents do to hold on to their kids? How to hold a safe space for your troubled teen?

  • Recognize underlying emotional cry for help.

    Try to walk in your child’s shoes, feel his troubles to understand what he/she might be going through. Remember, your child is a unique human being and can have troubles which for you is a cakewalk. For example, a parent (let’s call her Ann) being an outgoing, pleasant personality couldn’t understand her child’s fear of social gatherings, and the more she pushed her child, conflicts escalated and reached emotional disconnect.

  • Reframe your perspective.

    As we shift our perspective, we are after to see issues at hand in a new light. Shifting perspective for parents can be a little bit tricky as we all have preconditioned notions about parenting. Most of us parent our children, the way we have been parented, without realizing the changes in the world around us and its impact on our children.It helps to connect with a trained counselor , to see fresh perspective .

  • Reconnect with empathy ,compassionate communication.

    Communication is not only about the words we speak , but also about the intention behind it , energy with which it’s spoken and how are we feeling while communicating , all of it matters.As our teens are going through lot of emotional ups and down , the voice with which we connect , the calm ,safe voice gives them an anchor to hold onto. The more they are heard , the more you give non-judgemental ,safe space for them to express , the more safe they feel to open up.

  • Redfine your prirorites.

We parent with a checklist in our hands . A checklist of degress to achieve , things to do ,success to measure and so on for our children . In the race of getting the boxes checked , we miss            out on the emotional being our child is . We miss on connecting with those emotions, listen to those feelings and just focus on fulfilling those so called tasks of parent . Our children starts finding          their own way to handle this emotional neglect. Emotional neglet resurfaces later in life in form of addiction or emotional distress.What if , we take time to reflect on our priorities,our child’s          emotions, give him a safe ,non-judgemental space to express, listen to him and work with him to come on a common ground which not only brings out the best in him but in you as parent as             well.

Our children are not only dependent on us physically,financially,socially but are heavily dependent on us emotionally. And we as parents need to decide if we will be emotionally available to our children or project our judgments, fears and insecurities onto them. Our teens need us more than peers as describe in book Hold on to your kids by Dr.Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D

So, would you like to be a provider of safe emotional space for your teen ? Would you like to explore more on how to be emotionally present for your child ? Connect here.