Every Kid is One Caring Adult Away From Being a Success Story

Why Does My Child Push Me Away?

A psychologist wrote an article for The New York Times entitled: The Emotional Whiplash of Parenting A Teenager. Do you feel that way, like your kid gives you emotional whiplash? One day you get along great, the next you are wondering “Why Does My Child Push Me Away?”

If that’s the situation you’re in or have been in, you’ll want to listen to this episode of Parental Guidance.  We’ll talk about why your teen is pushing you away and what you can do about it.

“What you don’t talk out, you act out

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1. The first thing to know is uncertainty is often a key motivator for why some teens act out. There’s so much uncertainty in their lives. It could be family structure, identity, friendships, someone didn’t like them they wanted to like them, an embarrassing or frustrating social situation at school: any or all of these areas can cause your teen to feel uncertain and to feel like shutting you out.

2. And what you must do as a concerned adult or parent, is to lean in.

Why must you lean in? Because your teen isn’t pushing you away in hopes you will give up and go away. They are hoping you will hold on. Sometimes young people act out because they want to push, prod and test to see who cares enough to stick around and try to figure out why they’re acting out.

3. There are many things you can do, but ultimately the best thing is to be there and to care for your teen or child.

You can also focus on asking questions so they will talk to you. The key is to ask questions, not interrogate. You want to ask questions to get them talking so you can begin to get data and info on exactly what’s going on and bothering them.

Remember this: lecturing = tuning out, thoughtful questions = critical thinking.

Critical thinking is the ultimate goal for all of us, whether we are a parent, educator, mentor, or other caring adult in a teen’s life. We want to train critical thinking in kids we care about so when they are in a situation that really matters on their own, they can think critically and make decisions for themselves.


VIDEO: Why Do Kids Act Out?

BOOK: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen

SUBMIT A QUESTION: Ask Josh Your Question


  • What are your thoughts on a child or teen who is pushing away caring adults?
  • Have you been through this? What strategies or techniques did you use?
  • Are you currently dealing with this? If so, what do you need help with?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments below…

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