Challenges of Modern Parenting for Troubled Teens
Two adolescent specialists from SUWS of the Carolinas teen wilderness therapy program made a presentation on the challenges of modern parenting to members of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) in Philadelphia.
As part of a breakout session titled “LOL, OMG, LMAO: Challenges Facing the Modern Family,” Jesse Quam, LCSW, and Brandon Moffitt, LPC, shared three internal and three external challenges facing families today.
Internal challenges included:
- Employing an authoritative parenting style rather than a permissive or authoritarian style
- Nurturing secure attachments between parents and teens
- Creating healthy family rituals that foster connection and togetherness
External challenges included:
- Economic and financial challenges
- Fostering quality family relationships in the Technology Age
- Social pressures and the need for parents and teens to feel supported
In addition to highlighting common parenting challenges, the speakers offered practical solutions that have helped hundreds of families at SUWS of the Carolinas, such as:
- Setting and enforcing limits around the use of television, computers, cell phones and other technologies (for both parents and teens)
- Creating opportunities for undistracted family time, such as family game night, family dinners, and special weekend projects or activities
- Learning how to identify emotions and communicate with “I feel” statements
- Approaching teens with a blend of warmth and firmness
- Providing structure, consistency, follow-through and predictability
- Remembering to slow down and stay in the present moment in times of stress
“The initial goal for most families is to make a 5 percent change in a healthy direction,” said Quam. “Turning their lives upside down isn’t sustainable or necessary. It’s the gradual shift that makes a lasting impact.”
The presentation concluded with case samples and a collaborative discussion. Attendees, who included educational consultants and clinical professionals, left the conference with new tools to support struggling teens and their families.
“These are challenges all families can relate to,” said Moffitt. “The IECA conference provided an ideal forum to discuss timely parenting issues and offer specific solutions that can benefit both parents and teens.”