Parenting Teens: Pick Your Battles

By: Melissa Barton, MA, LPC-S

Being a parent can be one of the most exciting and rewarding jobs out there. Yet, it comes with its challenges. Parenting a teenager may bring even more struggles to the table. I am a mom of two middle school girls, and a therapist to teens and their parents by trade. So, I get it.

As parents, we want to do the best job possible. We want our kids to be kind to others, have high self-esteem, succeed in school, be active, participate in extra-curricular activities, and the list goes on. It’s hard to keep up. So, maybe there are some things we can let go of. Below are my ideas on what those things could be. (I do believe these things are important, just maybe less important than healthy relationships and decreased conflict.)

Choose Your Battles When Parenting Teens

#1. Choice of clothing or hairstyle.Teenagers are figuring themselves out. They want to be unique and express themselves. Sometimes they do this by choosing a style that is “a little out there,” or a hair color that makes us question their judgment. I say; as long as they are covering the parts that need covering, let them try things on for size. It’s not worth the battle.

#2. Checking Homework and Grades.I will admit to becoming obsessive about logging in and checking my kids’ grades at times. Obsessing, then nagging them is not helpful. I DO think we need to be aware of how our teens are doing in school. I also think we need to be there to help them. But, checking grades every day, and asking the same questions every day leads to conflict. Make a plan to check their grades weekly, or even better, mid-grading period. Then ask if they need help. Teenagers learn best through experience. Let them miss an assignment, and learn how it affects their grade.

#3. Messy Rooms. OK, I am not saying we need to allow moldy towels to pile up or bugs to be crawling around. But, within reason, let your teenager be messy. Teens have a lot on their minds. Their minds are not fully developed. Being tidy and organized might not be a priority to them at the moment. It doesn’t mean they will grow up to be slobs.

#4. Being Cranky. As we all know, teenagers can be moody. They may give you the silent treatment, or answer you gruffly in the morning. Don’t take it personally. Hormones, social media, school stress, and even a pandemic may be on their minds. Be ready to listen when they are ready to talk, but don’t force it.

***Side Note: If you notice significant changes in mood, signs of depression & anxiety, or evidence of self-harm, please reach out to professionals.

Counseling Can Help Address Issues When Parenting Teens!

If you are looking for support or help for your teenager, counseling may the answer. Family counseling, group and individual therapy for teens, or parental coaching are great options. Learning to let go of some things can be helpful, but difficult to implement on our own. Also, trained professionals best address mental health issues. 

Begin Counseling at Our Center in Katy, TX

If you are ready to talk to one of the therapists at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide counseling and mental health services. To begin counseling in Katy, TX follow these three steps:

Other Therapy Services We Offer

Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch, we offer counseling services for people of all ages in areas including counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to post blogs regularly. We provide helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!


individual, couples, family and group counseling

Fully licensed professionals with years of experience in their individual areas of expertise.
Share the Post: