Fair   61.0F  |  Forecast »

When Your Teen Won't be Caught Dead in Public with You

Your kid sometimes wishes you'd just disappear. Sound familiar? For most parents, it's par for the course. Here advice and tips on how to deal.

OK, mom and dad: We know we're not Robert Pattinson or Miley. But most of us think we're pretty with it. That is, until our teens tell us otherwise – typically several times a week (at least). And forget going out in public together.

Should we take it personally? What is it about teens that makes them pretend they don't have parents when other teens are around?

The public scene

Most adolescents are busy figuring out their independence, says Josh Kellman, M.D., a clinical associate with the University of Chicago Medical Center.

"However, this is not done in isolation," he explains. "Autonomy from parents is developed in the world of peer relations. Teens tend to safeguard their peer world from invasion by their parents."

In other words, teens strive to become free from their parents in every possible way – and it's a normal stage of social-emotional growth. They're acutely aware of how others, especially peers, view them as they desperately try to fit in. Being deemed "grown up" is the ultimate goal.

They naturally want to keep their teen environment separate from family life, where parents most likely still view them as young people with an awful lot to learn.

Keep your cool

It can be difficult to realize that your teen doesn't want you around all the time – particularly in public. So what if your kid pretends she doesn't see you at the mall – or doesn't want to hit the movies with you anymore?

"Parents should not feel slighted," Kellman says. "It is typical and developmentally appropriate for teens to be embarrassed of their parents." Kellman encourages parents to strike a balance. He suggests being sensitive to this developmental phase and trying not to be too invasive.

"On the other hand," he cautions, "parents must be themselves, and need not bend over backwards to accommodate their teen's wish for them to disappear."

Try to remember what it was like with your own parents when you were a teen. Odds are you felt a little awkward bumping into a group of your peers if you had your parents in tow – even if you weren't adverse to going places with them.

They'll get over it

You may have noticed your friend's or neighbor's college-age kids come around – proof-positive that this will be a transient phase.

Kellman says, "As autonomy becomes more secure in late adolescence and early adulthood, kids usually settle into a more comfortable tolerance – even sometimes enjoyment of their parents in public situations."

He gives the example of parent weekend at college. Moms and dads often take kids out to dinner with their friends, and this is "secretly, or even openly, welcomed by the child."

So hang in there. Your teens will be welcoming you into their public life again soon. In the meantime, find a way to enjoy their activities and interests without being too overbearing.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

CannaMoms Fight to Legalize Medical Marijuana for Kids

CannaMoms Fight to Legalize Medical Marijuana for Kids

Three moms of severely sick children want to change Florida law to treat their kids with cannabis. Opponents worry about lack of research and possible dangers.

Tips and Advice for Buying Glasses Online for Kids

Tips and Advice for Buying Glasses Online for Kids

Ever considered purchasing eyeglasses on the Internet for your child? A local optometrist offers insight into the process – and what to be cautious of.

Dick & Jane Baking Company Offers Smart After-School Snacks

Dick & Jane Baking Company Offers Smart After-School Snacks

A mom and dad team from Troy, Michigan teamed up to create wholesome, delicious cookies that teach kids state capitals, language, presidents and more.

Fruit Kiddy Cocktail Recipes from The Bird and The Bread

Fruit Kiddy Cocktail Recipes from The Bird and The Bread

Want to add a layer of fancy, not to mention healthy, to your kids' next snack or after-dinner dessert? Try these three recipes from the Birmingham restaurant.

Craft Roundup: Fabric Based Projects for Back-to-School Fun

Craft Roundup: Fabric Based Projects for Back-to-School Fun

Make some locker pencil cup holders, a seat belt cover, V-neck sweater vest and drawstring sleeping bag case to get kids excited about September.

Tips for Easing the New School Jitters

Tips for Easing the New School Jitters

Is your child attending a new school this year? Follow these five tips for making the transition easier.

Meet Yasmin, Metro Parent September 2014 CoverKid – VIDEO

Meet Yasmin, Metro Parent September 2014 CoverKid – VIDEO

Talk about a good sport! This 12-year-old Farmington Hills tween and England expat chatted about One Direction, her favorite sports and more.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement