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Parents   »   Teenagers need special attention from both parents

Teenagers need special attention from both parents

A parental separation can cause teenage children to run away from home and spend more time away than at home. But teenagers need boundaries and secure parents just as much before and after the separation. Here, parents can help each other out!

A summary of this article below.

Teens need freedom but also boundaries

During the process of separation, young people may gain a bit too much freedom, as parents often lose attention. Perhaps they flee to their friends to escape the chaos at home. There, they can do things that are expected of teenagers, but still need some supervision from adults.

For teenagers, just like for younger children, having a secure parent-child relationship means getting help with setting boundaries. When separating as teenage parents, the relationship with the child may need to be re-established as two separate relationships rather than one general parental relationship. However, cooperation with the coparent remains important.

It is important for coparents to remain in control

Teenagers’ world and range of movement outside the family can be quite large. It is therefore important to know where your teenager hangs out and who their friends are. This provides protection against any potential harm. If you work together on monitoring and keeping in touch, the safety net will become more secure.

Studies show that teenagers with separated parents smoke and drink to a greater extent than those with cohabiting parents. The risk is highest if the child lives with only one parent. So it is beneficial if both parents can contribute to keeping an eye on them.

Dare to be a parent, not a friend, to your teenager

Demanding strict obedience and respect just because one is a parent often leads to teenagers limiting their insight into their life and instead doing what they feel like. Maintaining close relationships with teenagers requires emotional openness and honesty from both parties.

However, even excessive openness from a parent, for example in the case of a separation, can lead to teenagers withdrawing. Despite the relationship being based on mutual respect, teenagers also want the relationship to remain an attachment one, meaning that it is still the child who leans on the parent and not the other way around.

Respect is vital for the trust

As your teen spends more time away from the family, it is important for you to set boundaries that are respected, so that you can have trust in your teen. This will help you to relax. This is especially important when you are already busy trying to keep your head above water during the separation. However, in order to have trust, you also need to have insight into what is going on.

Tip! Keep in touch with your teenager’s friends’ parents and check in every now and then.

Tip! Simple communication with coparent is important, like the chat in the Varannan Vecka-app which only focuses on the children. Nothing else.


  • Teenagers still need boundaries to feel safe.
  • To have a close relationship with your teenager, both parents and child need to be emotionally open and honest.
  • It is the child who should be able to lean on the parent, not the other way around.
  • It is important for the teenager to respect your boundaries in order for you to be able to feel trust.

Malin Bergström
Child psychologist