Raising Teen Series | Irvine Moms




Our love is perhaps the most protective, enduring force we offer our children. Why? Because it makes our children know that they are worthy of being loved. This genuine sense that they are worth being cared for offers a foundation of self-regard that will affect their behaviors and emotional well-being during adolescence. It also generates the security from which they will launch into adulthood. This feel-good emotion is also the basis from which they will enter meaningful friendships and romantic relationships far into the future.

We are speaking with Educated and trained parent coach and teen life coach 15-25yrs of age. Barb works with Parents and Teen Girls.

Barb Steinberg

LMSW- Parent Coach

Parents of Tweens and Teens, how do we help with their Moods and Behavior? 

Well, one of the first things we can do is:  help them to get enough sleep, for example:

  • The medical community says that teenagers’ brains are developing at the same pace as toddlers, so they’re just working on different things. There is a ton of development happening in their brains during this age as a teen and a tween.
  • They need between nine and 13 hours a night.
    • So, we can help them with that by having their phones in their bedrooms.
    • Having computers, TV, and other technology out of the bedroom so that they can get those nine to 13 hours.

That’s going to help their mood and their behavior.


Second, we need to make sure that they are eating regularly.

  • If they get hungry, then they’re going to be in a bad mood and we’re not going to have good conversations.


Third, being consistent with them. A lot of times parents of teenagers, they think that it’s all about, “well, I need to guide them. I need to tell them what to do, I need, I need to stay on top of them.”

  • We need to be consistent in terms of building and maintaining a good relationship with them. Meaning we’ve got to make time to not just be the parent where we’re telling them what to do all the time and correcting them.

Lastly, we also need to work on bonding with them, this means:

  • Connecting with them, having fun with them, going out to Starbucks, going for a walk, or going to get ice cream.
  • Where all we’re doing is hanging out and talking.

It’s not another meeting with an agenda. For example staying:

  • How are your grades, where’s your missing homework assignment? Have you applied to this college?
  • You know, did you talk to your teacher about this?


Those are all kind of parenting conversations where we’re trying to kind of guide them and tell them what to do.

We NEED to have time where we just hang out with them, and we build our relationship with them. The more that we have a close relationship with them, the better off we’ll be when something troubling happens, we have a relationship to build from where they might be willing to talk to us or accept any suggestions we might have.



The Anger and Emotional roller coaster, is this all normal and how can we help our Children during these Stages?

Yes! That is because going back to brain development, the amygdala is a part of the brain, in which your emotions live in. It is fully developed in a teenager, but the frontal lobe where executive processing takes place, that’s the last to come on board and we know that the brain it’s not done developing until around the age of 25.

So, it explains that when something happens in their world, they have a big emotional response, but they don’t have that executive processing that helps them to see non-black and white thinking or to help them plan or to help them to see like what a consequence might be from a behavior.

They don’t have any of that processing to make sense of what just happened. All they have is that kind of emotional response.

  • I say that to parents because it helps them to know like, “Oh, I don’t need to take everything personally when my teenager freaks out and get super angry, it’s not always about me,” frankly. It’s probably often not about their parents at all.

How do we help them?

Well, first, this is going to sound a little silly, we need to make sure that we are okay with, and we welcome all emotions.

  • So not just, I only want my happy, bright, smiley kind teenager to show up, but I love you and accept you. Even when you show up crunchy, angry, frustrated, disappointed, and you’re complaining because that’s part of being a human being.
  • Asking your teenager to only show up as sunshine and roses is not realistic!!

We can send the message to them that “It’s okay for them to be angry with me”. Let’s talk about what you do with your anger:

  • So, do you need to take some deep breaths before you speak?
  • Do you need to leave the room and calm down before you speak?


When they’re angry, parents need to role model the way to act. Stop and think:

  • When I’m super angry at my teenager, how do I handle my anger?
  • Whether it’s towards my spouse, my teenage, my coworker, my friend, they need to see how we as adults express our anger and disappointment because they’re watching us and they’re learning from us.


How can we create Time that we make our own special Quality Bonding time?

Not only adults, but kids’ worlds and schedules can really be all over the place. If you need to start small and bite size chunks, that’s better than nothing.

Things you can do in a small-time frame:

  • Going on a drive with our teen to target, to go run an errand, listen to music, to even talk about things like who the singer on the radio, or the latest video.

You can bond a lot in 10 minutes!

  • If you’re alone with your teenager away from home. It doesn’t always create the best quality time at home. It can, but if you want to kind of fast track that quality time, I recommend getting out of your own house.


If we can even set aside 10, 15 minutes or an hour, it can mean the world of difference in our relationship with our teenagers to bond on with them.

We do have to make it fun and interesting for them.

I talk about doing like a parent child date:

  • For example, we’ll say it’s a mother daughter date and you get together with your teenager.
    • You say “you’re one of my favorite people. I like you so much, I know you’ve got such a busy life and your friends are so important to you and I don’t want to take away from that, but I would really love to have some one-on-one time with you because you’re going to be leaving the house in a few years. I really love you a lot”
      • If she agrees to spend time with you. Then you guys can talk about, okay, well, how often should we do this mother daughter date? Is it once a week? Once a month.
      • Come up with a list of 10 to 20 things that you and I would like to do together and then each week/month she can pick one of them.



What are appropriate conversations to have about Physical Body Changes?

I’m a big proponent of what are appropriate conversations. In my opinion, all of them are appropriate. If it has anything to do with your body or even someone else’s body. Whether attracted to the same sex or the opposite sex, you still need to have information about your body and another person’s body.

That information is empowering to understand how your body works, how it’s going to change.

  • That it’s totally normal and natural, to really kind and of celebrate those changes can really kind of impact and influence how girls receive that information.
  • If we say you’re going to get your period and its gross and it’s a big pain Well, how am I going to receive that information? I’m not going to be looking forward to it. Right.

If we can really reframe it and say it’s something special that happens to girls. Even if you must fake it, you look like you’re comfortable talking about it. Then it sends a message to her, “oh, this is something I can ask my mom or dad about. this is not taboo. If I need information, I can come to them”.

I’ve found often that teenagers struggle with doing that because they are embarrassed, or they’re worried about their parents’ reactions. So, another option:

  •  Give them some websites or even some books, and you can leave the books on her or his bed so they can read them at their leisure so that they don’t even have to come to you.
  • You know they’re getting accurate information about their body versus talking to their friends and getting inaccurate information.
  • You can encourage your teens, to share those websites with their friends so all of them have accurate information.


What are some tips for Parents when having these Conversations?

I have so many videos on my YouTube channel kind of diving into these questions, blogs on my website and I have free eBooks also for parents to kind of dive into these questions.

What are some tips for parents?

Number one is timing.

  • Like stated earlier you got to make sure that they’re well rested, well fed and not in the middle of something.
  • Set yourself up for success before even opening your mouth and come with curious questions versus we’re going to have a sit down and I’m leading this conversation and I’m how you like it is. That’s not mutual respect, which is what teenagers are seeking.

The more respect we give them, the more they give back to us. And we want that as parents!

For example:

  • You might say: “oh, I just heard from a friend of mine that her daughter got 17 and got pregnant. we need to talk, you need to not have sex or I’m going to put you on birth control” That’s not a conversation,

Instead have a conversation like:

  • What do you think is going on with girls your age when it comes to sex? Tell me, I want to learn.
    • This is opening an opportunity to share our opinions and thoughts as well while also seeking hers.
    • If a teenager realizes, this is a conversation, then they’re more willing to engage and they’re more willing to listen.



What are your feelings about Parents reading Text Messages?

I would say that the younger they are, then yes, it would make sense that you would be a little bit more involved in letting them know, this is a phone that I’m letting you borrow.

  • Since its brand new to you and because of your age, I’m going to be monitoring it because I want to make sure that you’re safe.
  • As you get older, you need more privacy and are becoming closer to an adult. because you’ve already shown responsibility with your phone, then I’m going to back off and to give you more freedom and independence and more privacy, which is age appropriate.



We want our Kids to feel safe coming to talk to us about anything and everything. How can we maintain and reassure them that they can come to us?

They’ve got to know that no matter what choice they make, even if it’s a choice that really disappoints or upsets us, that we still love them. No matter what.

  • Our teenage daughter knows what our values are as parents. They know what you expect of them.
  • If they think what they have chosen is going to disappoint and upset, you and will get them in trouble. They’re probably going to keep it from you or lie about it because they’re trying to protect themselves, and frankly, they’re trying to protect you the parent.
    • So, if they know, even if they make a choice that you don’t really like for them, you as a parent are still going to have their back.
    • You are going to protect them if they need protecting and love them no matter what.

That will go a long way, but they need to hear that message repeatedly.


How can we inspire our Tweens and Teens to make good choices?

Some of that has to do with your relationship that you’ve created with your teenager.

  • If they feel supported, loved, accepted, celebrated by you for exactly who they are, not what you want them to be, they will really feel that.  Then they feel some freedom to make choices that they feel are right for them the moment they feel some trust in you.
  • They also want to please you, not disappoint and anger you. They want to make you happy.
  • So, the more that you have a close, connected, loving, accepting relationship that goes hand in hand with having this wonderful foundation of feeling good enough as you are, which then lends itself to making positive self-honoring choices.

Now that said, it’s a rare teenager that doesn’t mess up and make a mistake and make a choice that really isn’t that awesome.

  • That’s part of learning they’re supposed to learn.
    • Just like when they were learning how to walk, they were supposed to fall. We didn’t get mad at them and shame them for falling. We helped them back up so they could keep walking.

So, it’s very similar with any other choices they’re making as a teenager, is for them to know that you’re going to be there for them and support them. Even if you disagree with the choice that they made.


For Parents with Stubborn Tweens and Teens, what are some techniques we can rely on to help?

Being a stubborn tween or teen is kind of par for the course because one of the developing little tasks of being an adolescent is individuating. Meaning I’m becoming my own separate individual from you, mom, dad, or caregiver.

We might read it as stubbornness.

So, we’re saying:

  • I want you to play soccer, I want you to get all A’s, I want you to be outgoing, I want you to socialize more and we’re getting pushed back.

Well, there are lots of reasons for that, but one reason could be that they are trying to become their own individual self, they are not as social, are an introvert or really don’t love the idea that is being pushed on them.
So that might feel like stubbornness when, it might be more about them developing into the person they’re meant to be, which is identity.


Stubbornness, I think as parents, we need to step back and say, well, what is the stubbornness about:

  • Am I trying to force this kid to be something they’re not, or force them to do something that they don’t enjoy? And how can I turn that around? So, if I really, really want them to have an extracurricular activity and they don’t, where’s the middle ground in that, like, is there something that they enjoy?
  • Maybe they like baking, but it’s not an extracurricular activity with school, but could that be a part of their life.


How do you inspire Tweens and Teens to try new things and get involved in Sports or Enrichment? 

I think there are many people of all ages that gravitate towards sports, and they have a natural athletic ability, or they’re really interested in it. They like it. They enjoy it. Those are the kids to support them in playing sports.

Then there are many kids that sports are not their strength, it’s not their passion and they don’t really care for it.

So that’s where we’ve got to find some other options to help them to discover:

  • What do I enjoy? What do I like? What is my gift? What is my natural talent?
  • There a great book called ‘How Youth Thrive’ by Peter Benson. He uses the word sparks instead of passions, but he talks about three areas. I think this is super important for these parents that are like, oh, you must have something.

One category is: Talent

  • That could be like soccer, singing, playing an instrument, dancing, or volleyball. So that’s their spark.

The second category is: A Cause

  • Meaning that my spark is I care a lot about the environment or about homelessness or LGBTQ rights. That’s where the enrichment lies.

The third category:  Equality

  • So that means that you bring equality. That is your spark. Meaning you’re an excellent friend, you’re loyal, trustworthy, super funny, lighten the mood, and bring a quality.


These three categories are super important because some parents think it’s sports or nothing, right? If we look at those three categories, it broadens our viewpoint of what our child’s talent or passion, or spark is.

What is a great recommendation for Tweens and Teens when making new friends?

As they get older, they don’t love us telling them what to do. So, when we say you need to make more friends, you get out more, you should invite so and so over. They don’t always love that; it feels like pressure.
So instead of telling, maybe you can ask:

  • How’s your social life going right now?
  • Like scale of one to 10, how happy are you with your friendships?
  • What would you change if anything, about your friendship situation right now, if you could wave a magic wand and make it exactly what you want, what would it be?
  • Are you a person that wants three friend groups? Do you want a small friend group of three girlfriends? Do you want one best friend?



So, you’re asking what is it that you want? Because we can’t create what we want, unless we know what we want.

Now, for those shy and introverted girls, you know, they have a different need after coming home from school.

  • They’re wiped out due to so many stimuli, they don’t need as much time with other people cause they’ve gotten a lot at school.

So that’s where we’ve got to ask those questions:

  • How often would you see friends outside of school and how many friends would you like to have a outside of school?
  • Would you prefer to hang out with your friends at our house, at their house neutral territory?

You’re asking these questions so they can begin to figure out what do I want and how can I go about getting it?


So many kids don’t know how to do engage in conversation starters. Sometimes social skills cannot be their strong suit or they’re shy or they have social anxiety. So, they might need help with that:

  • Like how do I start a conversation?
  • How do I keep it going?
  • What do I say in a text when I invite somebody to do something?

This may sound like a no brainer to an adult, but to a teen it’s not always



What are your final thoughts?

I always like to encourage parents to be transparent.

  • When you’re feeling afraid, scared, worried, or miss them you can share your softness with them so they can match and mirror the softness.

I’ll give you an example:

  • One parent might say, oh my gosh, I’m so sick of you having your face in your phone. You’re always in your room with your door shut. I never see you. You need to join the family more. All that feels like criticism.
  • Another way to say that is, you’re one of my favorite people. I love you so much. I love spending time with you and I kind of miss you and I would love it if we could find a time to hang out.  That’s kind of vulnerable. And the more that we can do that with our kids, the more we get that back.

Join The Irvine Moms Community

Stay up-to-date with what is happening in-and-around the Irvine Moms community with local events, community highlights, and exclusive deals.