Secret #1: They see your taking charge as a form of love and security.
Parents, I know this might shock you, but your teen sees your taking charge as a form of love and security. So they want it.
In our nationally-representative survey of 15, 16 and 17-year-olds, the teens said they’d never directly tell their parents this — but if given the choice, 77% preferred a parent who would “stay on top of them” over a parent who would basically let them do what they wanted. Behind the very real desire for independence and freedom, teens know they aren’t quite ready for it yet. So they instinctively crave reasonable rules, checkups on homework and for parents to keep emphasizing family time. And if they don’t get it, we found they truly feel abandoned and unloved. As one teen put it, “I have friends at school. I need parents.”
The teens I interviewed said it is their parents’ job “to be the bad guy.” And the teens were usually glad when their parents prevented a compromising situation by putting their foot down. They didn’t necessarily confess it to their parents at the time! But secretly, they were happy to avoid the ensuing quandary.