Talk to your teenager about what’s going on in their life. Communication is the foundation of any relationship. To communicate, you have to talk. You may feel like it’s the last thing your child wants to do, but you owe it them and to yourself to try. To start – or restart – the conversation, pick a simple question and ask.

Listen to what your child has to say. When you ask a question or initiate a conversation about a topic, it’s time for you to be quiet and let them speak. This may be new to you as a parent. Resist the impulse to jump in, respond, correct, or offer guidance. Especially if you’re sure you have great advice.

Hear the emotional content behind their words. Hearing is different than listening. Hearing means you’re not planning your rebuttal, looking for inconsistencies in what they’re saying, or daydreaming about your to-do list. Hearing is listening past the words themselves for clues about what’s going on deep inside.

Understand there’s no such thing as perfection. The perfect son, daughter, mother, or father does not exist. There’s no perfect parent-child relationship. If your teenager is struggling with a tough mental health disorder or addiction problem, there’s no value in assigning blame, but there is value in recognizing the truth of what’s happening.

Evolve from where you are now to the place you want to be. Transformation means movement, and movement means taking action. If your teenager is stuck in a painful emotional disorder or addiction cycle, it may be time to consider a robust approach to their care, such as an outpatient, intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, or residential treatment program.

Evolve Treatment Centers, accredited by CARF and The Joint Commission, offer the highest caliber of care for teens, 12 to 17 years old, struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues. To learn more about our full continuum of Outpatient (OP), Intensive Outpatient (IOP), Partial Hospitalization (PHP), and Residential Treatment Programs (RTC), visit or call