Teenagers’ lives are clouded by cynicism and intense emotion. As parents, we might (internally or externally) trivialize the events in their day-to-day lives. Maybe your child, who had previously loved Justin Bieber, is now listening to gangster rap. Maybe they randomly gave up meat, offering no explanation for the new, vegetarian lifestyle. The pressure to simultaneously fit in a carve out an individual identity is a difficult thing to reconcile. As a result, your kid might lash out.
Teenagers lack the ability to understand long-term impact; everything seems more immediate, pressing, and dramatic. Were they a few minutes late to a party or rehearsal? Do they not have the same shirt their friends are wearing? Did they not see a specific movie? Their embarrassment will likely persist far past what adults might experience, and their directionless emotion will eventually land on, you guessed it, the parent.
The teenage years are also necessary for socialization. Things they might have thought to be cool will now be “lame” because a classmate disagreed. They might begin to show interest—sometimes intensely—in trends and fads propagated by the internet and friends. These trends might seem kind of random to a parent; maybe your tomboy daughter has begun to wear bright red lipstick, or your son is getting really into country music. Understand that these passing interests are just that: passing. One day, you’ll both look back on this time and laugh.
Relax, take a deep breath, and remember: this is a phase.