Hide page
Illustration of young people

Parenting teenagers

Your teenager’s behaviour will be changing as their brain grows and develops. This might be alarming or upsetting, and you might feel rejected or quite worried about them. Take a look at our young people’s information pages about Common Issues if you’re worried about something in particular. It might be helpful to take a step back to learn what their brain is busy doing. Your Amazing Brain explains more – take a look and think about sharing it with your teenager.

What might help?

Be flexible and creative about how you communicate with your child as they grow older – any conversation is better than no conversation. Continue to let them know you are someone they can trust.

Take comfort from knowing that your teenager’s behaviour towards you isn’t personal, and that their ability to think rationally, make good judgements and feel empathy is lowered during adolescence.

Illustration of thought bubble with the text Loading inside

Most young people don’t find teenage years easy! Cast your mind back – did you?  Try to remind yourself though, that their brains are busy undergoing important changes and that they need to break away from the family to grown into an independent adult.

Illustration of button with text that says DO NOT PUSH

Get to know what pushes your buttons and what pushes theirs. Try to avoid these ‘push button’ situations or practise walking away when things get heated if you can.

Still worried and concerned?

Because our teenagers’ behaviour is changing so much and can be unusual it might be hard to know whether to be alarmed or concerned. And it can also be hard to know if and at what point you or your teenager might need extra support with behaviours that you find upsetting or troubling. Certainly, if their behaviour or what they are telling you is concerning over a prolonged period of time it could be time to talk this through with someone on a helpline or to seek some support for them (and you).

Look at  What’s in Leeds for me (or What’s in Leeds for young adults)  to find what support is on offer locally, or browse the suggested links below.

Parent experience; Hannah

Hear from another parent on what she finds tough about parenting her 14 year old … and things she finds helpful to remember.

Read more

So your child is turning 18?

How do mental health services change when your child becomes an adult?

Read more

The adolescent brain and what parents can do

Neurologist Judy Willis explains how the brain develops during adolescence and shares advice for parents on  reckless behaviour and risk taking.

View on YouTube

Talking mental health with young people

A guide for parents and carers from Anna Freud Centre about talking to young people at secondary school about mental health.

Go to link


An information leaflet for parents and carers whose child is moving on to secondary school, to help them to find ways to support their child during this time of change.

Download pdf

Relate - on teens

Lots of practical advice on how to deal with common teen issues.

Visit the website

Coping with self-harm

Guide for parents and carers from the Charlie Waller Trust

Go to Charlie Waller Trust website

You are not alone

Guide from Dept of Psychiatry for parents who are coping with their child’s self-harm.

Visit website

Facing shadows

A short animation from Anna Freud Centre describing what it is like to suffer from depression as a teenager.

Watch the film

Reading well

Recommends books for 13 to 18 year olds with advice and information about issues like anxiety, body image and difficult experiences like bullying and exams.

Go to website

Forward Leeds

Alcohol and drug service in Leeds for adults, young people and families.

Go to website


Mermaids is a national organisation which supports children and young people up to 19 years old with gender identity issues, and their families, and professionals involved in their care.

Go to website

MindMate is not responsible for content on websites or apps mentioned on the site. Always read the app’s Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy to see how your data may be used. Read our advice about messageboards on our Worried About Bullying page.