Tips For Mums – How to Defuse the Arguments, Reconnect and Support your Teenager


Being a parent can be one of the most stressful jobs there is, and just when you thought you had the hang of it along comes the teenage years. There are a huge amount of changes taking place in the lives of teenagers, and if you don’t stay on top of them your teenager could end up feeling like a stranger to you.

Whether you are feeling challenged by your teenager right now, or want to learn more about the changes that are coming.


Why does a teenagers behaviour change?


Seeking Independence


Adolescence is a time where the need for independence becomes greater. Giving your teenager more responsibility for how they get to places, how they spend their time and money, and who they spend time with is all part of preparing them for adulthood.


New Experiences


Adolescence is also a time where your teenager will begin to take more chances, including sometimes risky behaviour as they test the boundaries. The scary part for parents is that the adolescent brain isn’t quite able to think through consequences and risks.


Moods and Feelings


Your teenager might show intense feelings and emotions. Your child’s brain is still learning how to manage emotions and express them in an adult way.


Valuing Friendships


As your child reaches adolescence their peer group becomes a more important influence on them. It can feel like your teenager wants nothing to do with your family, but keep in mind that this is an important developmental stage for your child and that they still need a secure base to return to throughout this time of change.


Searching for Identity


Your teenager is likely to be trying to figure out their identity and where they fit in the world. This might mean trying out new hairstyles, music and clothing. Your teenager might also be starting to form relationships and going on dates.


Increased Arguments


Some conflict between you and your teenager is actually normal at this stage as they seek more independence. Your child is beginning to be able to think abstractly and to question different points of view. Learning ways to manage conflict can be important at this stage.


Signs your teenager is in trouble


Even the normal changes in adolescence can be highly stressful, but there are a number of things that are important to look out for as a parent of a teenager.

  • Skipping school or getting much poorer marks than expected
  • Being rude or aggressive at home, or at school
  • Sneaking out of home, or not coming home at the agreed time
  • Showing signs of taking drugs or drinking
  • Withdrawing from friends and family and spending all their free time in their bedroom


What you can do to improve your Relationship with your Teenager?


Be a Role Model


You can model how to have respectful, kind and positive relationships with family and friends. You can also role model effective ways to handle difficult emotions and moods, for example having difficult conversations in a calm way, or taking care of yourself in stressful times.


Learn how to Listen


One of the kindest things you can do for another person is to really listen to them when they speak. When you are running a busy household it can be very easy to only give distracted attention to your kids, especially if their viewpoints are different to ours. If your teenager wants to speak to you, see if you can find 10 minutes to really listen to them without distraction. Conversations in the car can be one of the best ways to talk with a teenager.


Get to know your teenagers friends (and their parents)


If your teenagers’ friends are welcome in your home you will be able to track the nature and quality of their friendships. You can also have more influence on reinforcing positive friendships. Make sure expectations of behaviour in your house are made clear to your teenager and their friends (e.g. clean up after yourself, keep your parents informed about plans, respect others in the house).


Catch them being good!


At times it might seem that adolescence is nothing but a time of challenge. It is important to find things to praise your teenager for, such as being a good older brother or sister, being a great friend, or trying their best at a task.


Seek help for your child


If your teenager is showing signs of struggling with mood, anxiety, friendships, or they are engaging in risky behaviour it can help to have them linked with a Psychologist who they can develop a trusting relationship with. Or if you would like to take the next step towards a strong and positive relationship with your teenager, a psychologist can help you to work out a plan and to learn some new parenting strategies.


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Ashling Isik

Clinical Psychology Registrar
M.Psych (Clin Psychology)
B. Psych. (Honours)


Hi, my name is Ashling and I enjoy working with young people and their families to improve psychological health, relationships and connectedness, and the ability to deal with stressful events that arise during adolescence. My work involves equipping young people and their families with resources, skills and support for transitioning through this period of change.

Often we can become stuck in ways of handling stress that are ineffective and can cause us greater distress in the long run. I have worked with many young people struggling with anxiety, depression, peer difficulties and school-based issues; helping them to identify and manage difficult emotions, thoughts and memories that may be holding them back and identifying strengths and values.

I have also worked with parents to guide them towards more effective and positive interactions with their teenagers so that they can support their teenagers to becoming psychologically healthy and resilient adults.
Working together with my clients we aim to increase self-understanding, develop new and effective skills for handling the challenges of life, and gain clarity about values and purpose to help guide good life choices.


What is my approach?


I use a form of therapy which is empathetic, supportive and non-judgemental. I use a variety of therapeutic models that I have had great success with including Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Solution Focused Therapy


Special Interest Areas:


  • Transitioning through High School into early adulthood
  • Anxiety Disorders and Mood Disorders
  • Relationships
  • ADHD
  • Parenting teenagers

How to Contact Me


If you would like to make a booking or to inquire about sessions with Ashling, contact Core Psychology on 02 9817 1993 or simply complete this enquiry form.



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