Being a parent to a teen is definitely a challenge, I can’t argue with that. However, dear parents, you should always remember that being a teen is also not an easy task – it’s all about huge stress, pressure, changes and feeling misunderstood. Check out these 8 ideas that can help to break down the barriers and enable you to have a better relationship with your teen.
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#1. Respect Their Personal Space
It’s often a challenge for parents to understand that teens need more autonomy and a private life. You can’t expect them to share everything that happens with you but that’s ok.
Your teenager will resent you if you invade their personal space, don’t show trust, or constantly tell them the ‘right’ opinion to have. Constantly questioning them will erode that trust too.
- Where were you?
- Who were you with?
- How long have known this guy/girl?
- Is she/he nice?
- Who are their parents?
Allow your kids make mistakes and learn lessons from them, try not to judge, but rather support and encourage and be there for them if sometimes things go wrong.
#2. Family Bonding Routines
Some show-your-love daily rituals are essential to stay close to your teen. Despite pretending they hate it, blowing a goodnight kiss to your daughter through the door, or patting your son on the back during the morning ’goodbye’ will become a great way to stay close.
Unique family slang can also become a cool bonding detail – no need to invent it, just pay attention and you’ll notice some funny words which are used by members of your family. Such ‘punch lines’ turn into friendly family jokes that make the generation gap less evident.
#3. Share A Family Interest
Don’t neglect family activities with teens, even though it seems like you can’t find any point of contact. Can’t get the sense of your teen’s hobby? Surf the net, read about it, and show your interest – they’ll appreciate it, for sure.
Be involved and active, try everything they offer from cooking together to shopping, sports to new experiences, camping to a road trip or festival. The list is endless, all you need is to be creative, easy going, and ready to share new amazing experiences with your family.
#4. Keeping the Balance
The lists of “musts” can seem endless: must do well at school, must be obedient, must clean the hose, must look after younger siblings, must, must, must…
Yes, teens should have responsibilities, but they MUST be balanced out with things they want to do. Sit down with your teenager and create equal lists of “must do” and “can do” together. Listen to what they have to say and review the lists as they grow.
#5. Give Them Responsibility
The next step to having a better relationship with your teen is to show them you don’t think of them as a child anymore. Give them responsibility by asking for their help maybe teaching you something they are interested in or cooking dinner for the family. And ask their opinion when it comes making decisions that affect the family.
#6. Welcome Their Friends
As your child goes through their teenage years, friends become more important. You will have a better relationship with your teen if you welcome his or her friends.
Even if you don’t like them, don’t forbid your teen to spend time with them. Be subtle and try to give advice by softly mentioning your dislike, but that’s all – no pressure, no bans, no yelling.
Your teen will find ways to hang out with their friends so best to welcome them to your home rather than having them hang out in places you don’t know.
#7. Listen More
Parents could avoid many problems if they just listen to their teen.
Your teen wants to speak out, and even more, they need to speak out. They need to play out loud everything that happened during the day, all their troubles, successes, minor events. You can use that to help your child – just give them a chance to be heard. It’s when your teen stops talking or you stop listening that the real trouble can begin.
#8. Know Your Don’ts!
- Don’t compare your teens with their friends or classmates.
- Don’t ask too many questions.
- Don’t leave them alone when they need help and support.
- Don’t ‘spy’ give them their privacy.
- Don’t be adamant with your “NO” – be reasonable, explain why, discuss.
- Don’t always criticise your teen – they struggle with self-confidence by nature. Try praising them more.
- Don’t always show yourself as more knowledgeable.
- Don’t be sarcastic or critical, especially in front of teen’s peers, friends, or other people.
Do you follow these strategies? Or, maybe, you’ve got some other ideas on how to have a better relationship with your teen? Please share your ideas in the comments box below.