How many hundreds of times have you been in this situation with your teen? Perhaps it's the Friday or Saturday night blues fest, when your teen is sitting at home, no plans in sight, seemingly excluded from the latest group text, feeling low, dejected and misunderstood. Or maybe, you notice that it is has been a fierce night of texting or posting on twitter or instagram, and every time you walk by your teen's door they are flopped on the bed, staring off into space, and you just know that something has happened, some slight, some misunderstanding.
It is in these moments that the mama/papa bear or the lion/lioness comes out in you, and you get this powerful, primal urge to protect your baby cub from hurt. So you walk in with your sympathetic, loving, supportive arms and pronounce their friends are all a**holes (which was what I always did, and I admit was completely ineffective and it always backfired on me) and tell them when they get older they will find "real friends" who get them! Which may actually be true, but they do not want to hear that. The future is light years away, and has absolutely no meaning for them. And besides, it is these friends that they want and crave. No substitutions please. So when you go in and want to be that shoulder to cry on, and take pleasure in being that one person that gets them, it is in that moment for them that that is the kiss of death. The teen in them, the teen that is trying to be independent of you and that primal need of theirs to be love and accepted, will reject you. It is the acceptance of their peers that is the most important. Love and acceptance from mom and dad, not so much.
So when you see your teen with that "look,"say a simple "bad night" huh, and leave it at that. If they look up to you with an invitation to talk, great, otherwise, as always, this too shall pass.