There are different challenges of being a parent, especially when your kids are starting to grow up and treading their teenage years – oh, so tumultuous! This phase is the time where they are experiencing some changes in their personality, behavior, lifestyle, and attitude.
They are trying to figure out their identity – who they are, what they want, who they love, what they stand for. And one of the most famous questions by teenagers out there is “What should I do with my life?” At this point, you might realize that what they are dreaming about is very different from your expectations as their parent.
To fully help your teenage kids in choosing the path that they would want to go, you need to respect their choices and support without showing pause or hesitation. However, this should not be an excuse in giving them your guidance, but let them explore so they would know how to step out from their comfort zone and grow. Remember, “For the most part, the parents are on the right track with firm boundaries, negative consequences for poor choices, positive rewards, and looking at the motivation behind the behavior. These elements are essential to intentional parenting yet it is not enough. Instead, the small changes sometimes make the biggest impact.” Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC said.
Talk To Your Teen Regularly.
Just like in any relationship, talking is one, if not the most important part to sustain and nurture strong ties. With that, you could ask them about their activities for the day or talk to them about their friends. Take advantage of those times that they may seem open for a chat. If they are talking or telling you something, you have to listen well. Show them through listening that you care and love them. “Assure that BOTH you and your child are calm when speaking about behaviors. Convey understanding of their feelings and ask them what they think will help them to manage their emotions. Communicating while calm always results in more successful plans.” Barb Roba, LMCH also added.
Listen To What Your Teen Says.
Remembering a famous line from a motivational speaker: “People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Listening intently is the best expression that you are really interested in their passion, their dreams, their worries, and fears. To sum it up, you are listening because you want to know more about their life since you care so much.
Try To Be Open-Minded With Your Teen And Refrain From Being Judgmental.
Being judgmental shuts down a conversation. It closes the mouth of your kids in sharing something with you. Instead of raising the tone of your voice or pestering them for not sharing a story with you as they tend to be defensive, you can ask open questions. What are the open questions? Sample lines are “How do you feel? What do you think about that?” Yes, it sounds like something coming from a shrink, but it can help. This way of communicating with them can open their mind to possible solutions, situations or scenarios.
Give Your Teen The Freedom To Express Himself.
All of us have the right to speak our beliefs and thoughts, so respect their opinions and leave behind the disagreements. As long as they are respectful to you and won’t use bad words, giving them the freedom to express themselves will release tension and repressed feelings. It will be good for you and them. “If you’re clashing with your adolescent child, get parenting help now, too. Even belated changes to your communication style can make a difference.” A reminder from Richard Zwolinski, LMHC
No Matter How Busy You Are, Set Aside Time Each Day For Your Teen.
You have to be available to your teenage child for a few minutes each day. It is your obligation as a parent to be “there” for them, no matter how busy you are with your work and personal life. Let your children know that you are always there when they need you, even in difficult situations. Just make sure that it is not just words but with actions as well.
Give Your Teen Privacy And Respect Boundaries.
Privacy is their right. Don’t just enter their room without making them aware that you are coming in. Knock on their door and ask them if you can spend time with them, however short you can allot for each teenage child. The important thing is that you have time to spend talking with them while respecting boundaries.
Love Your Teen Unconditionally To Foster Better Communication.
You need to show your teenagers that you love them. Let them feel it through your actions, words, and communication. Tell them how much they mean to you and never slow down on that even if they reach adulthood. You’d be surprised when your teen will ask you everything for advice or will want to spend more time with you. This is very possible.