EP 31: Parents and Teens: Our Roles, Relationships, and Struggles with Adam Bertoch, LMFT, LCDC

Being a parent to a teen can feel almost as tumultuous as being in adolescence itself. This crucial developmental stage where children are supposed to experiment and explore can be conflict-ridden when parents respond in a critical, controlling way. According to today’s guest, Adam Bertoch, parents have to move past the idea of ‘stop behaviors’ and instead look at what ‘start behaviors’ they can encourage in their teenage children. This is just one of the incredible insights this Woodlands, Texas-based Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) shares with us. In this episode, we talk about the trauma that comes from unmet expectations and disappointment, which is something every human being will face. Rather than trying to shield our teenagers from this inevitability, Adam believes that parents have to be reflective guides, being transparent and vulnerable, and modeling healthy coping mechanisms. Adam stresses the importance of honesty over perfection, something a lot of parents struggle with. We also discuss being curious about emotions rather than judging ourselves for feeling whatever we may be going through. As the gateway into adulthood, the adolescent years are filled with inner conflicts, so we unpack how parents and teenagers can establish expectations of the relationships to meet their respective needs. The conversation also touches on self-esteem struggles and establishing value, dealing with addiction or mental health challenges as a family, and why anyone can overcome any trauma they have faced. Be sure to tune in today!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Get to know Adam and what his Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor qualification entails.
  • Why unmet expectations are considered traumatic and how they influence mental health.
  • The purpose of adolescence and why experimentation and exploration are crucial to this developmental stage.
  • How parents can understand the turbulent teen years and find connection with their children.
  • Adam’s five guidelines for parents of teens to consider.
  • How parents and teens can get on the same page about their expectations of one another.
  • Why a curious rather than a critical approach helps parents respond to difficult emotions.
  • Questions to ask to cultivate a sense of curiosity about what you are feeling.
  • The benefits of being honest as a parent rather than trying to be perfect.
  • Avoid rhetorical questions; they usually evoke defensive or self-deprecating responses.
  • How the levels of dependency between parent and child evolve over time.
  • Trying to control emotions is harmful, so teach your children how to cope with their feelings.
  • Navigating self-esteem issues as a parent while guiding your children through theirs.
  • Tips on establishing value and building up your own worth.
  • What the zone of proximal development can teach us about our capabilities.
  • Why Adam believes that human beings can overcome any trauma.
  • How parents of teens struggling with addiction or mental health problems should approach parenting.
  • Acknowledging your limitations as a parent and sharing them with your children.
  • Adam’s story of hope and his personal experience of overcoming very dark times in his life.


“The landscape of mental health happens around trauma and it’s based in the smallest form of what trauma is which would be expectations that would go unmet. In other words, disappointments.” — Adam Bertoch [0:02:49]

“If you can be honest with yourself as a parent and that if you made your duty to your child more about being honest than about being perfect, I think it would offer you and the child tremendous a growth opportunity.” — Adam Bertoch [0:09:17]

“You’re responsible for your feelings as a parent. The goal is to convey to your child that they are responsible for their feelings.” — Adam Bertoch [0:32:55]

“If you want to reduce suffering for your child, be responsible for your emotions and help them to understand how to be responsible for their emotions.” — Adam Bertoch [0:33:53]

“You need to know that human beings are able to emotionally overcome any trauma.” — Adam Bertoch [0:42:41]

“The key is not to avoid disappointment; the key is to learn how to disappoint your kids effectively.” — Adam Bertoch [0:57:33]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

On The Mend Counseling

Adam Bertoch on LinkedIn

True and the Rainbow Kingdom

Brené Brown

Zone of Proximal Development and Scaffolding


You can listen here on our website or through the links below. However, we highly recommend subscribing so you can automatically receive each new episode. To do so, click one of the subscribe options below.



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