It Seems Like My Teen Does Not Care About Anything

Have you ever said the words, "It seems like my teenager does not care about anything these days"? Well if so, as the parent of a teenager, you are not alone. I often work with parents who are concerned about their teen's lack of interest in their future or who are concerned that their teenager does not care about things that should be important to them because they are only focused on their friends or on the immediate moment.

Some teenage behaviors that may cause parents to have this concern may include:

1. Grades dropping

2. Disrespect towards teachers or other authority figures

3. Disrespect towards parents

4. Disregard for rules

5. Skipping school

6. Lack of interest in family events they used to enjoy

7. Different ideas about future (i.e. not wanting to go to college)

8. Not being willing or able to save any money if working

9. Calling out sick for work or skipping work to do social things with friends

10. Reckless or risk-taking behaviors

What parents often question is why their teenager is willing to risk potentially ruining their future for " in the moment" excitement or gratification. Parents can become extremely frustrated and discouraged if they are experiencing this which can result in chronic tension and arguing in the home.

If you are a parent in this situation, these are some things to keep in mind:

1. Normal Development. It is a normal part of adolescent development for teenagers to feel like the world revolves around them. It is also normal for teenagers to be focused on living "in the moment" without regard for how it may impact their future. If you see this happening on a small scale, it is likely very normal behavior by your teenager. If it is happening all the time and is really putting your teenager's safety or the safety of others at risk, it is a potentially a more serious problem. In addition, if you feel like it could potentially have serious, negative consequences for your teenager's future (i.e they stop going to school or completing homework), you should intervene and seek outside help if needed.

2. Independent ideas. As teens grow, they will start to have more ideas that may be different from yours. This is normal and should be permitted, encouraged and praised. Teens should be thinking more independently since this is a skill we all need as adults. If you are noticing your teen doing this, it is important to take a step back and think about your teen's individual ideas before responding or harshly reacting to them. What do they want for themselves? What are they working towards? What motivates them? How are their ideas similar and different from yours? Are their ideas bad or destructive or just different? This process is important because much of the time different does not equal bad, it just requires some getting used to. However, if you feel that their "different ideas" result in self destruction, pain for them or others or will significantly, negatively impact their future, you may be looking at a more serious issue and want to intervene and seek help quickly.

3. Possible negative impact. As your teenager starts to act and think more on their own, it is helpful if you, as the parent, can try to remain objective. This means trying to look at what they are doing and saying and see both the positives and negative of this. Your dream for your teenager may not be their dream for themselves. What you want for them may not be what makes them happy or what makes them feel good about themselves. Of course, if you feel there are legitimate, negative consequences to their behaviors, then you should absolutely intervene as needed.

Parents who are in this situation may experience a lot of worry and the suggestions above are easier to understand and agree with when they are not in reference to your own child. However, your being able to take a step back and remain objective can be important in your teenager's overall growth. If you are struggling with this process or are unclear about what is potentially harmful versus something that will just take some getting used to, you should get the support of a friend, other parents of teenagers or a coach to help you manage this complicated situation.

For more information on Life Coaching or coaching for parents please visit [], or email

My name is Karen Vincent. I am a Certified Life Coach as well as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker with a Masters Degree from Boston University. I have worked with teenagers / adolescents and their parents for the last 15 years in a variety of settings, including outpatient therapy, specialized schools, over the phone and in the home.

Please call for a free Coaching Consultation: 774-245-7775

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