If you feel like your teen is mean to you, listen to this doctor explain the biological reason why—it’s important for their development

If there’s anything that comes to mind when you think about teens, it’s their attitude. This age group is known for eye rolls and talking back—and they can get downright vicious sometimes. But if you’ve ever wondered why your teen can be so mean to you, we have the answer. And according to this doctor-mom, there’s a biological reason for it.

Dr. Lucie Hemmen made this TikTok video that’s going to comfort a lot of parents of teens, because, in it, she explains that teen rudeness serves an important developmental purpose.


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“If your teenager is hurting your feelings a lot these days, this one’s for you,” she says in the video. “There’s actually a developmental purpose for some of their mean behavior. Being a teenager is the road to adulthood, and one of their developmental tasks at that age is to create an independent identity. In order to do that, they’re often brutal in their methods of separating from you.”

Dr. Hemmen points out that this dynamic can be “especially intense” for moms and daughters, but that it’s “heartbreaking” for parents of all teens at some point during those years.

She continues, “How do you handle it? Well, remember this is a chapter in the book. It’s not your eternal relationship. It will get better. And when they cross the line, you can be short and to the point: ‘Hey, you just crossed the line.'”

And an important teaching moment for teens, she says, is helping them build awareness of how their jabs land because whether they’re funny or hurtful can depend on the mood of the person on the receiving end, and the teen years are a great time to start learning to pick up on those social cues.

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