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I Love You -- Now Go Away: The Push and Pull of Life with Teens

Expect Surprises

What's Up with Your Teen It's a developmental fact: Every adolescent will zig one day and zag the next. "Teens want more autonomy and input into decisions that affect them," says Aber. "It may not seem as if they care about what their parents say, but research shows they do." They crave the freedom of growing up yet still have the need to stay safe, comfortable, and close to you. And while you may feel you have no clue as to what they're thinking, chances are they don't either, says Christy Buchanan, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

How to Deal Look at the big picture. After a particularly crazy day, Jennifer Satterwhite, a mother of a tween and two teens in Plano, Texas, forces herself to step back for a moment. "I ask myself, How are my kids doing in general? Are they growing up to be the kind of people I'd hoped they'd be?" And build in a healthy pause before you respond to the mood du jour so you can consider the underlying issue before you react.