Parent – Adolescent Conflict


It’s true – relationships change during the adolescent years. Although your child might want more privacy and more time with friends, family love and support are still very important. Parent-child relationships change during adolescence, your adolescent needs’ are very different to those of a younger child or infant. As parents, it is recognising this change and adapting our parenting style to match those changes. For some parents it is a time of reflection as they begin to recognise how independent their once dependent child is becoming. However, adolescents still require much love, attention and parenting to safely navigate through trials of adolescence.


Adolescence is the time of differentiation and identity formation. It is the time where adolescents start to explore their unique likes and dislikes, question their values and believes and try new things. However, adolescents also experience physical changes that contribute to hormones. However, it is also the time where there can be the highest amount of conflict between parent and adolescents as conflict arises when adolescents struggle against household and parental boundaries. Parents are often shocked at the changes in their once-compliant and respectful child who seemingly overnight has morphed into an eye-rolling, grunting teenager.


Adolescents require a careful balance of increased responsibility, freedom and privacy alongside clear boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Achieving this balance can be challenging and ever-changing. Maintaining open communication channels with your adolescent is seen as a vital part of this balancing act whereby your adolescent feels safe and comfortable to discuss important issues and decisions with you. However, this is not always easy and at times parents can feel overwhelmed and at a loss of how to approach difficult conversations with their adolescent or unsure of how to support them.


This may be a time when YLO Psychology Clinic can help. Our team of psychologists offer parent support and training to help parents understand the unique demands of adolescence and strategies to promote open and honest communication so together they can navigate the challenges that is adolescence. Intervention may include:

  • Assisting parents to adjust behavioural expectations of their adolescent
  • Strategies to set and enforce clear limits and boundaries
  • Communication strategies to allow for open and non-judgmental communication between parents and their adolescent
  • Education on the neurobiological changes that occur during adolescence which impact on mood and behaviour