Generally regardless of your teen's in-built temperament, the teen years are a time of forming identities and transition from the child they were to the adult they are becoming. One girl put it this way "I sometimes think my body is way ahead of my brain. I spend half my time dreaming about boys and the other half wishing I could be back in the playground with my friend playing our old silly games."
This transition from childhood to adulthood is a time of uncertainties especially for your teen. Andrew Boutros, former CEO of Focus on the Family Australia, commented how during these years teens are discovering what personalities traits work for them. They are in essence "trying on" different behaviours (based on their inbuilt temperaments & character developed thus far) trying to determine which fits best and enables them to survive in their environment.
You see, their brain is undergoing a sudden increase in new neurological connections equivalent to the growth it went through in early childhood." It is any wonder that you may often feel like your child is acting like a two year old!"
During this transformation the brain is developing the frontal lob, which is primarily for logical thinking, helping to control emotions, gaining perspective and being able to think through the consequences of our actions. As a result your teenagers may find it difficult at times to think logically, control their emotions, get perspective and consider consequences.
Rob Parsons in his book Teenagers: What Every Parent Should Know: explains that sometimes just understanding why they are behaving this way helps you to see where they are coming from. It sheds light on whats going on inside them and how they must be feeling.
Parson believes this critical stage of development, just like the terrible 2s, has a purpose (and a time frame), knowing this will offer relief to the guilt may parents feel and serve as a reminder that you are not a bad parent because your teen loses it every now and then.
Although your teen may at times seem crazy (and at times they feel that way!) One of the greatest gifts you can give your teen during these turbulent years is hope for their future, "...even though both you and your teenager may have every reason for cynicism try to keep alive the dream of them forming a stable relationship and a happy home."
Looking back I can see how my own familys shortcomings were replayed as I grew older; I had little hope that I could be any different. I can now see how without hope for my future and the relationships that God could establish in my life; I struggled to see the point in choosing better for myself. I would often search for hope in the faces of those close to me, as they struggled for survival, they had none to spare.
As you offer your teens and pre-teens hope, over and over again (repetition is good!!), it gives them something to strive for. The words you speak consistently to your children will have a profound effect on the choices they make, and the belief they have in God and themselves. And when they make mistakes, love them and keep reminding them that God forgives, and that hope that He offers is always available.
Ultimately a child needs faith-filled messages to counteract the negative messages they hear from a range of sources: the media, their peers, and even well meaning adults. Which left unattended can have devastating effects on your child's self-esteem and attitude towards life.
You are so important to your children, so don't forget to give yourself some time to charge up those batteries and keep filling up on the hope that God offers all of us in His Word.