Teenagers’ behaviour can be baffling, stressful, hurtful and often worrying. But in most cases, it doesn’t mean that there is anything more serious going on than the natural process of becoming an adult.

Many of the common behaviour issues that parents find hard are an essential part of puberty and growing up. Surges of hormones, combined with body changes, struggling to find an identity, pressures from friends and a developing sense of independence, mean the teenage years are a confusing time for your child.

It can mean that they, for example, become aloof, want more time alone or with friends, feel misunderstood, reject your attempts to talk or show affection, or appear sullen and moody.

Your feelings about your teen’s behaviour

Teenagers can challenge even the calmest of parents. When you have further pressures in your life, such as other children, work, relationships, family commitments or illness, it can feel as though your teenager is going to push you over the edge.

Try to step back from the situation and remember that they have physiological reasons for behaving in ways that can be difficult to live with. They’re probably not enjoying it either.

How should I act with my teenager?

Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist who works with families, explains that “teenagers can be largely emotional rather than logical because of the hormones rampaging through their bodies. It is not necessarily pleasant for them, and it can even feel frightening”. “Although it might be hard for you, they need you to maintain a calm consistent presence”

Follow these tips:

  • decide what the boundaries are and stick to them – teenagers may object to these but they know they are a sign that you care for and about them
  • listen to them when they do want to talk and try not to interrupt until they’ve finished speaking
  • allow them to learn from their own mistakes – as long as they are safe – and accept they might do things differently to you
  • don’t bottle up your concerns – if you’re worried your teenager may be having unprotected sex or using drugs, try talking calmly and direct them to someone who can support them, ie school, doctor etc
  • allow them to have their own space and privacy

There is a lot of support in Cornwall to help families and young people. Some of these services are listed below.

However, the Pastoral Team at Brannel School have a vast knowledge of what services are available for families and young people, and are able to make referrals for you, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your concerns further.

Useful links

Family Lives

Family Lives is a charity with over three decades of experience helping parents to deal with the changes that are a constant part of family life.

Website: www.familylives.org.uk )

Helpline: 0808 8002222

Teenager Behaviour : https://www.familylives.org.uk/advice/teenagers/


Early Help Hub

Single point of access for families and young people to access.

Website: www.cornwall.gov.uk/earlyhelphub

Email: earlyhelphub@cornwall.gov.uk

Contact: 01872 322277



Family Information Service

Here you will find a range of services available to support you in your role as a parent/carer and family life in general.  Parenting Programmes are a popular resource offering advice and guidance for expectant parents through to parents of teenagers.


This zone also includes details of parent and toddler groups, support during and post pregnancy and help just for Dads, amongst many other aspects of family life.  Organisations and services inside this section are based both locally and nationally.

Website: www.supportincornwall.org.uk

Contact: 01872 323535

Email: fis@cornwall.gov.uk


Parenting Programmes Leaflet – https://www.supportincornwall.org.uk/kb5/cornwall/directory/integratedworking.page?integratedworkingchannel=1


Your Way

Your way is a partnership between youth and mental health services in Cornwall.  Passionate about all aspects of their work, they provide quality youth services in Cornwall for, and with, young people aged 10 and over. Your way provides information, advice and guidance, counselling, mentoring and youth work, as well as opportunities to volunteer on projects to make a difference.

Website: www.your-way.org.uk 




Offer free, practical advice on how to deal with common teen problems

Website: www.relate.org.uk (live chat available)