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Parental Listening, Encouraging, and Trusting


Teenagers are particularly susceptible to certain emotional and social challenges due to their vulnerability in terms of mental health, physical changes, environment, and other factors. Moreover, this is a period of transition from dependency to independence, which may also manifest itself in various behavioral changes. While often wanting to contribute to their children’s well-being, parents do not have the necessary tools to approach the possible issues from the proper perspective. However, the support of family members may significantly help a teenager going through internal and external conflicts. Thus, parents who know how to listen, encourage, and trust their kids can positively influence their children’s emotional stability and social success.

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Listening Instead of Preaching

Listening to a teenager is essential due to the possible mental health issues and vulnerability that correlate with adolescence. A young adult going through depression or dealing with suicidal thoughts can critically change the situation for the better with the necessary medication and therapy (Nevid et al., 2021). However, in case there is no trust or desire to have dialogues on challenging topics, it is impossible to know how the child feels and what may ameliorate a potentially dangerous state of mind. However, it is crucial to approach the situation from the standpoint of a friend who is ready to listen rather than impose a particular viewpoint.

Encouraging Instead of Demanding

Teenagers are experiencing many changes, both physical and mental. While they are not fully capable of taking care of themselves, they have a new understanding that they are in charge, which is factually beneficial. According to researchers, teens are less likely to follow advice since their cognitive abilities have improved enough to make personal choices (Moses‐Payne et al., 2021). Thus, initiatives have to be encouraged since they increase independence, individuality, and responsibility. One example is encouraging teenagers to apply for part-time jobs. This, according to researchers, helps form social relationships and increases the chance of having high academic performance (Berk, 2018). Thus, positive encouragement is much more beneficial than commanding and demanding.

Trusting Instead of Discrediting

Parents often find it hard to trust teenagers because a relatively short time ago, they were children with no ability to be independent and required full supervision. However, trust is an essential concept in parent-teen relationships. It encourages open conversations, sharing of important personal information, and close connections. A concept related to the lack of trust is overparenting, which involves control, domination, and restrictions. Overparenting, however, is beneficial for adults yet negative for children (Burke et al., 2018). Thus, such an approach is perpetrated because it allows parents to be in control and feel in power. Since this is not the objective and the aim is to help teenagers be socially and emotionally healthy, the relationship has to be based on trust and mutual understanding.


While teenagers are much more independent than children in terms of making decisions and influencing the environment around them, parents are certainly the people who can make this transition from childhood to adulthood easier. This relates to the emotional and social life of the teens, which is directly linked to mental health and how individuals interact in society and form relationships. Thus, parents who take their time to become active listeners, encourage, and trust the decisions made by adolescents are more likely to see an improvement in their social and emotional skills.


Berk, L. E. (2018). Development through the lifespan. Pearson.

Burke, T. J., Segrin, C., & Farris, K. L. (2018). Young adult and parent perceptions of facilitation: Associations with overparenting, family functioning, and student adjustment. Journal of Family Communication, 18(3), 233–247. Web.

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Moses‐Payne, M. E., Habicht, J., Bowler, A., Steinbeis, N., & Hauser, T. U. (2021). I know better! Emerging metacognition allows adolescents to ignore false advice. Developmental Science, 24(5). Web.

Nevid, J. S., Rathus, S. A., & Greene, B. (2021). Abnormal Psychology in a Changing World (11th ed.). Pearson.

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