Parents, have you noticed that communicating with your teen has become quite an overwhelming task? Do you find yourself repeating things over and over, yet, the message doesn't seem to be going through? Do you feel that you are talking to yourself half of the time? Do you dread having any conversation with your teen? That good news is, you're not alone! The other good news is, there is a way to make things better. Here are some 7 tips to better improve your relationship with your teenager.
It seems simple, but it is a bit difficult to listen. As parents, we always want to solve problems and jump to give advice. However, that's not always what teens need or want. They just want you to listen to them as they work through whatever conflict they are facing. They don't necessarily need a solution or answer, they just need a safe place to vent.
2. Control Emotions
When it comes to certain topics, especially ones where parents might not be super comfortable address them, it is hard to maintain composure. If your teen comes and tells you they have tested out vaping or weed, or did something you don't approve of, your initial reaction might be anger and you might find yourself screaming at your teen. However, this isn't going to help anyone; rather, it will cause your teen to shut down and not speak about the topic again. You have to calm yourself down and if necessary, give yourself a time out by stepping away. Let your teen know that you need some time to process things and you'll speak to them once you're a little calmer.
3. Give Trust
The previous point moves us into this point. Your teen needs to feel like they can trust you and tell you anything. Thus, how you handle each situation will determine if they will come to you in the future with their problems. Give them trust. Give them safety.
4. Give Love
Your teen might not be a little kid anymore, but that doesn't mean you stop showing affection and love. More than ever, they need to feel that love now. Give them hugs and kisses, tell them you love them. Don't shy away from this because it's not normal in your culture or you didn't grow up with affectionate parents. Break the cycle and provide your teen with the love they need. Don't deprive them of this because they will go elsewhere to find this love.
5. Give Praise
Similar to giving love, there is no reason why your teen doesn't deserve praise. They will appreciate it and cherish that you are recognizing their efforts. Providing them with praise shows that you are paying attention and are noticing them.
6. Validate Feelings
I have seen this again and again, but parents sometimes will disregard how a teen is feeling. They will shut down those feelings or tell teens to "get over it," and "others have it worse." This doesn't help your teen! Please, validate their feelings. If they say they're unhappy, listen to them and validate that feeling. If they're anxious, listen and validate their feelings.
7. Do Fun Things Together
Your teen needs your love and attention, so give it to them. Find out what they like to do and do it with them. Take them out shopping, for coffee, have lunch together, or go play sports together. Talk to your teen and spend time with them. You can also do a lot of fun things right at home. Ask your teen about their hobbies and let them teach you something new. Give them one on one attention and show them that they matter.