Does your teen look at you like you have six heads when you talk to them?

Do you come home from work and find them locked behind their bedroom door?

If the answer is YES, you are not alone.  Somewhere during the transition into being teenagers, kids start locking their doors.

Is this a typical scenario in your house?

Parent: “Hi, I’m home where have you been all day. I called you a few times….”  As she tries to open teens door.

Teen: “I was busy”

Parent: “Why is your door locked? Can I come in?”

Teen: “Is there something you need? I’m busy.”

Parent:” Did you at least do your homework?”

Teen: Lies to parent “I did it already, leave me alone!”

Parent: Bangs on door and angerly walks away

In this scenario, you likely will walk away hurt and concerned or even angry over the situation. Or you may lose your cool. On the other hand, if you are brave enough to push your way into the room, through the abyss, you are likely to find some troubling things. Laundry piled knee high, half-filled drinking cups, empty bags of chips and an occasional pizza box hiding in the closet.  YES, this is typical teenage behavior! What matters here is your reaction to what you find in the cave your teenager is hunkering down in.

Sometimes this behavior can make parents feel like their teen hates them.  Do you see a drastic change in their behavior when you are around or signs of resentment? Let’s look at some actions that may suggest your teen may be struggling with being teenagers:

  • Little to no communication
  • Locking themselves in their room
  • Spending most of their time in their room or in a different room then you
  • Responds in a reactive way
  • Anger or rage toward you
  • Hiding what they are doing with their technology and “screens” from you

Your Solution 

This is where parenting survival skills need to be exercised. Communication and listening! How you approach the situation is very important. You want to be very calm and open when going to talk with your teen. All a teen ever wants is to feel like they can trust their parents, be valued by their peers and not be judged. If you come into the conversation asking how they are feeling and what is bothering them and what you can do to help, they will most likely respond open hearted (when they are ready) and more willing to share, if you come in demanding answers for why their behavior has changed they will likely respond in a negative way.

Parents want their teen to feel like they are willing to listen to their struggles. The take away are, relax and let go of the things that aren’t as important as everything else like the dirty cups and laundry. Try to focus on what really matters communication and active listening, we all just want to be heard without judgement. Most importantly, balancing privacy and protection, there needs to be a healthy balance between trusting our teens judgment and knowing what’s going on in their lives.

“The suggestions above are not, of course, to be followed rigidly. Each child is an individual with unique needs and abilities and must be treated as such. Therefore, the information provided should be adapted and modified depending on the needs and abilities of each child, with professional assistance if warranted”. Dr. Nach

Works Cited

Frank, C. (2011, August 22). 5 Teen Behavior Problems: A Troubleshooting Guide.Retrieved from Grow by WebMD:

Metro Parent Editorial. (2020, March 6). Teen Privacy: The Closed-Door Policy .Retrieved from metroparent.com

(Metro Parent Editorial, 2020)

(Frank, 2011)