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

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Don't Take the Bait

What's Up with Your Teen When a kid can't stand the sound of your voice and would rather die than be seen in public with you, it feels personal, but it's not. Instead, it's a reflection of your teen's shifting of loyalty from you to his peers. "Though your child is trying hard to figure out who he is without you, subconsciously he still sees himself as an extension of you," says Aber. "Tweens and teens are acutely tuned in to what other people think of them, and worry that anything you do will reflect poorly on them."

How to Deal Yes, it's infuriating to have your ideas, rules, music, and just about anything else you can think of challenged nonstop. It's also hurtful, and seemingly silly, when your child goes to great lengths to avoid being associated with you or the rest of the family. But if that's what it takes for her to avoid unspeakable embarrassment, don't mock her feelings. Just go along. (Public displays of affection may be inexcusable, but a private hug is almost always welcome.)

As for the mouthing off, when your child comes at you with remarks like "I hate you!" or "Everyone else does it," don't react. Walk away and calm yourself before re-engaging your teen in a reasonable discussion. This doesn't mean you'll tolerate rudeness. Make sure your teen knows when she's crossed the line and why that's not allowed.