Understanding adolescence

It is a time of great transition – from childhood to young adulthood, from identification with one’s parents to identifying one’s own values, beliefs, desires, and personhood. Teenagers experience change in almost every area of their lives – their bodies, their relationships, their brains, and their sense of who they are and who they want to become.

Parents act as a constant, providing security and protection, nurturing and guidance, along with adapting their relationship with the newly emerging person that they continue to see as their “child.”

Children will always be children in the eyes of their parents, who are often dealing with transitions of their own – in their careers; with aging parents; difficulty with partners, exes, or co-parents; their own aging; or mental health issues. Reestablishing new rules and boundaries with their teenagers may be far down on a long list of priorities. Parents may recall their own adolescence as a somewhat turbulent time in their development. Expectations for their teens may by unspoken, ranging from wanting their child to remain a child to “why don’t they grow up already?” Adolescents often have expectations from parents, wanting more autonomy and independence.

Teens still need their parents’ guidance although they often don’t want to admit it. To develop confidence and explore the outside world with positive expectations they need a safe place to retreat to when they feel vulnerable. They often have difficulty expressing their emotions to parents and may act out or be irritable, angry, and hostile at times.

Harried parents may respond with impatience and lack of time to really listen.

Help is available to teens and their parents to reach a mutual understanding and navigate the predictable conflicts that arise during this time of transition. Worried parents may want to solve their child’s problems and rescue them from life’s harder lessons. Divorced parents may feel they have less control over their teen’s behavior.

Teens need to know their parent is a safe person to consult with about their real-world struggles – that they can use their parents as a resource for emotional comfort and protection-whatever they are going through. They can then perform better in school, make wiser choices in friends and activities, and become the person they want to be. Emotionally healthy teens can prepare to make the transition to adulthood, collaborating with parents and becoming secure, independently functioning young adults.


Providing guidance and emotional support while handling challenging teenage behavior can be difficult. It is often not enough to simply know what teens need and then provide it. Understanding and accepting your child may have different beliefs and want to make different choices than parents can be a big hurdle.

Emotional or mental health issues can be difficult for teens to understand and be able to communicate with others.

The process of separating from family and achieving independence is delayed when encounters tend to alienate rather than collaborate between parents and teens. The greater the degree of disagreement and conflict, the harder it is to intuitively parent.

The good news is that professional counseling can help bridge the gap and lead to more effective communication and rewarding relationships.

Help is available to teens and their parents to reach a mutual understanding and navigate the predictable conflicts that arise during the time of transition. Dr. Genecov employs her own parenting experience, her back ground in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, and her master’s degree in counseling to work with teens and parents to improve their relationships. She helps teens explore their actions, identify their underlying emotions and express what they need to feel emotionally secure. Dr. Genecov also works with parents to identify effective responses and to navigate changes in the relationship with their child. Your first visit is with parents and teens together to understand strengths as well as challanges and to identify goals of counseling. The middle phase includes individual meetings with teens and parents to develop skills in communication and problem-solving. In the final phase, teens and parents work together in session and practice what they have learned. The course of counseling is usually completed in 12 to 16 sessions.

Dr. Genecov helps families by developing resources to communicate and respond effectively to one another. Teens experience a more secure sense of themselves, learn to communicate effectively, and enjoy a more loving, working relationship with their parents. Parents benefit by learning to process and understand what drives their teens’ actions and emotions as well as to respond effectively to current and future situations that may arise.

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Genecov’s approach and if it may help your family, please contact her today.

Schedule appointment

Please submit your information to schedule a telephone consultation, to see if your family is the right fit for Dr. Genecov’s approaches.
Dr. Genecov will respond within 2 business days.