Before you lose control

Parenthood   ›   Before you lose control

Whether we like it or not, our teens will test our limits and question our family values and parenting decisions. Maintaining authority can quickly become exhausting when we feel they don’t respect us. A feeling of powerlessness may then take hold, in addition to discouragement, anger, sadness, or even disbelief. So, how should you understand this paralyzing situation?

A variety of situations may call into question your parental authority: your parenting style, your child’s consumption habits, their failure to respect the rules you have set, disrespectful behaviour, a significant life change for you or your child, etc. Moreover, childrens’ needs change quickly between the ages of 12 and 17 years old. We as parents must therefore constantly adapt, and for many of us, that can be very challenging.


Identify the Issue

As parents, questioning ourselves enables us to better position ourselves in relation to our teens, and change how we communicate if necessary. Here are some things to consider when beginning your reflective process.


  • Do I respect my child when I’m angry?
  • What happens when I don’t agree with their choices or behaviour?
  • Are the rules that are in place clear? And do they have consequences?
  • When did the disrespectful comments or behaviours start?
  • When is my child respectful?
  • Are the rules suitable for my child’s age?
  • Does my child have a say in the rules?
  • Are the consequences directly related to the unacceptable behaviours?


Coping with Feelings of Powerlessness

The times when you feel powerless can be agonizing and can cloud your judgement on how you want to exercise your authority. It can therefore be very helpful to vent your frustrations, take a step back, and then try to better understand the situation.


To do this you can:

  • Speak to one of Tel-jeunes’s professional counsellors
  • Contact a CLSC if you experience multiple crisis situations one after another. The CAFE Program, for example, offers families immediate intensive assistance in times of crisis.
  • Call Info-Santé at 8-1-1