Do you feel like you and your teen speak different languages? Like nothing you say is ever the right thing? It’s a common feeling among parents of preteens and teenagers. And although you know it will eventually get better, you worry that your teen is drifting too far away. Again, a very common feeling.
But there is some good news. You can’t change the effects that puberty is having on your teenager, but you can work towards improving your relationship.
Here are 6 ways to foster a better relationship with your teen.
- Talk more
Many parents slink into silence when met with the moody outbursts of their teenage offspring. But this is actually counterproductive. Even though your teen may not want to hear from you, they need to hear from you.
Teenagers are going through an interesting life change. They feel like adults and may even look like adults, but their brains aren’t fully developed yet. So even if you’re met with major eye-rolling, keep talking to your teen.
- Listen more
When you talk more, you may get more in return. At least, that’s the hope. So, when your teenager actually talks to you, listen intently. Even if you think it’s not important, give the conversation your full attention. When you actively listen to your teen talk about anything, you’re sending the message that you’re there for him or her. This means that when they have something really important to talk about, they’re likely to come to you.
- Show respect
As parents, this one can be difficult. Of course, you respect your kids. But when they become teenagers and start sharing their opposing views, it’s tempting to try to shut that down. After all, your role is to guide your child, and you may think their view is inherently wrong. But they’re allowed to form their own opinions. Talk openly about things, even when you disagree. And remember to give your teen the respect you would give a friend or coworker when having the same conversation.
- Encourage positive habits
There’s a crucial time in the pre-teen and early teenage years. It’s when they are actively trying to find themselves and trying out different things. These things can be good or bad. They may even be a combination of both. As much as you can, try to encourage the good habits as much as you discourage the bad ones.
- Avoid judgment
If you remember what it’s like to be a teenager, you know that it’s a time of making mistakes. Avoid judging your child harshly for his or her mistakes during this time. If your teen comes to you with a problem, try not to act emotionally. Even the worst is manageable if you tackle it together.
For example, if your teen comes to you with a drinking problem, together you can find the best alcohol rehab.
Parenting a teenager isn’t easy, but if you remain diligent and try not to take things personally, you will both get through this with your relationship intact.