How To Have a Better Relationship With Your Teen
By Tyler Jacobson –
Better Communication Can Enhance The Relationship You Have With Your Teen
Parenting teenagers can be some of the most difficult years of life for the parent and the child. Teenagers are dealing with so many complex changes in a very influential world and often feel that no one really “gets” them. They feel lost in translation; meaning that they have a difficult time expressing themselves and in turn as parents, we have a difficult time understanding what they’re desiring to convey.
“It’s normal for teenagers to be moody or seem uncommunicative, but they still need you. Your child still loves you and wants you to be involved in her life, even though at times her attitude, behaviour or body language might seem to say she doesn’t.”
Bridging the gap through better communication between us and our teenagers will enhance the relationship we have with them. Here are some great words of advice I have found to be tried-and-true:
1. Expect great things.
Teenagers often get a bad rap. Parents watching their children evolve into the teenage years tend to expect overly dramatic, lazy and apathetic creatures who don’t listen to a single word from any authority figure. These expectations are not only skewed but can set you and your teen up for some very unhappy years together. Now is the time to genuinely take note of your teens interests and hobbies, whatever they may be, and connect with them in those areas. This shift in thinking will create some of your very best years together.
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2. Challenge yourself to give more positive feedback than negative.
Express to them the things they do that make you proud. “Parents have become so busy that communication has been minimized to only take place in case of needed correction or direction, but rarely for praise and simple relationship-building.” For every one correction (negative) you give your child you should be able to find two confirming (positive) things to say. Sharing out loud the great things you notice about your teen and how much they meet your high expectation you have for them will only make them want to try harder,
3. Listen to your teenager and validate their feelings.
Sometimes as parents we forget what incredible problem solving capabilities our children possess. Instead of always trying to provide an immediate solution to their problem or even worse, downplay their disappointment, try to just sit back and listen. When an opportunity presents itself for your response give your teenager validation of what they’re feeling.
- “Wow, that must be really difficult.”
- “I have felt that type of disappointment before too, it’s hard.”
- “That must make you feel so lonely.”
After connecting with them through empathy, their ears are open for deeper discussion. They trust that you are ready to be on their team and help them solve their problems.
These simple tweaks in your communication and language with your teen will help break down walls and result in building an everlasting foundation of openness and trust. Remember “…No negative conversation is worth ‘burning a bridge’ between you and your teen. Share your love and appreciation with them as often as possible.” They will reciprocate in ways you never imagined.