The teenage years are confusing and difficult years for child and parent alike. However, they are also critical moulding years – the behaviours and habits that your teenage child adopts now may affect their personality in future and shape their character in the long run.
Many parents feel frustrated during this period of time. Frequent clashes in attitude may make you feel that you are slowly losing your bond with your once obedient child. However, you need to accept that your teenagers are likely just trying to find themselves and to push the boundaries of their values and what they can live with and accept in themselves and in others.
Things need not be complicated and there are many ways for you and your child to manage a healthy relationship through mutual respect and love. All it requires is for you to keep a cool head and exercise patience, as you adapt to the fact that your child is now a young adult.
Understand Their Angst
We have all been teenagers; we understand the confusion and changes that we have to adapt to. When we make an effort to understand their angst, we give them an outlet and a source for comfort. Most of the time, you will find that you can relate to their frustrations and may be able to offer suitable advice to help them.
Use Your Own Experiences
Teenagers are at a unique stage of their lives where they are trying to discover and understand more about their world and the society. This may get them into trouble with the authorities as they develop a rebellious streak.
In such a situation, the last thing you should do is to be quick to judge your child. Instead, put yourself in their shoes; think of how you felt when you were a youth and what helped you to cope. Offer the same words of comfort that you needed as a teenager to your child now.
Technology Can Be Your Friend
With the internet, teenagers have access to far more information than any of us ever had growing up. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others, play integral roles in your teen’s life, and are important tools in keeping in touch with your teen’s movements and behaviour in society. Learn to use these same tools and reach out to your teen in the same language and in the same media and build more bridges between yourself and your teen.
The Road To Respect Works Both Ways
As parents, there is nothing more offensive than a disrespectful child. Put aside your pride as a parent, and remember that respect is a two-way street and this will help maintain a healthy family. Simple things can help build respect between you and your teenagers; action such as giving them their privacy, treating them like young adults, and respecting the choices that they make.
Always take a few seconds to remind yourself to stay calm. It can be frustrating when your teenager behaves rudely, but threats and shouting matches will only serve to make matters worse. As the adult, take a step back and ask yourself what your child could have been trying to say. For example, there could have been a point they were unable to express clearly, so think of ways to get them to communicate more effectively. If you find yourself unable to keep your composure, choose to continue the conversation when you feel calmer.
Show An Interest In Their Interests
It is important for parents to take an active interest in what their children are doing, and learn more about their interests or hobbies. This is the most direct way to make your teenage child feel that you care; it will also help to create more conversational opportunities for both of you.
Get To Know Their Friends
Take the time to find out more about your child’s friends. Being active in their social life can lead to healthier relationships between you and your teenager. As a parent, this allows your children to communicate with you about their social life. More importantly, you will know if your children are mixing with the right group of people, and this will give you greater ease of mind when your teen is out.
Allow Your Teen A Bigger Role In The Family
Being part of a household is more than doing chores or looking after the house. It helps to create a sense of ownership and responsibility. Include your teenager in family discussions and treat them as a young adult with proper opinions. Get your teenager to set their own rules, and ensure that they stick to them.
Have regular conversations with your teenager. They may have things on their mind that they feel uncomfortable telling their friends and you may be the perfect outlet for them. Again, tap into your experience as a teenager and offer the advice that they need. In some situations, you may not always need to be the one talking. A sympathetic ear may be all that they need.
When it comes to spending time with your teenager, remember that quality trumps quantity. You do not need to spend every evening with your teen but be sure to put aside time for a special dinner or a day out just to unwind or do their favourite activity. Try new things with your teenager, like fishing, hunting down gastronomic delights or even challenging each other at a video game. No matter the age, your child will surely appreciate the time spent and look forward to future events.
Understand that it is only natural that a teenager would want to spend more time with their friends at this stage in their lives. However, it is still important make an effort to have some quality together with your child every now and then to remain abreast of what is going on in their lives.
Stay calm when things get heated, the only way you can get your message across is firmly and rationally. If you find yourself too angry to communicate clearly, you can always reschedule the conversation when you are in a better state. It gives the both of you more time to reflect and work towards understanding each other better.
Make an effort to understand what your child’s interests are and know more about the group of friends who are important to your child. Not only can you understand more about your child’s personality, it also creates more opportunities for both of you to connect with each other.