The teenage years are rough. You know it because you went through it. Changes in hormones, physical changes, and increased stressors hit all at once, leading to emotional changes. More importantly, during the teenage years, people start to figure out their identity, test their morals, and become independent to tackle the world as an adult. However independent or despondent your teenager may seem, this is the most crucial time connecting and bonding with them.
Here are three tips to help start the process of connecting with your teenager.
1. Show that you care.
Teenagers are learning what they like and what their interests are. It is easy to show interest and care about what you are naturally drawn to. However, it is just as important to show interest in the activities that your teenager likes that are outside of your wheelhouse. Show genuine curiosity about what your teenager likes and why. Try to participate or ask them to teach you about what they like. This creates a bonding experience to connect with your teenager because you show you care about what is important to them.
Try not to minimize what they are experiencing, as this can lead to disconnection with your teenager. Ask questions about why they feel the way they feel and acknowledge their feelings. Become a sounding board for them instead of a director of how they should handle things.
2. Let them know what you like about them.
Teenage years often lead to feelings of uncertainty as they explore who they want to be and how they want to be perceived by the world. The relationship with your teenager is changing. That is normal. If you find yourself nagging them about things all of the time, take some time to talk about expectations. Ask for their input. Most importantly, tell your teenager what you like about them, appreciate, or admire. Make sure to point these things out regularly. It may seem like they should know it already, but hearing it from their parents can solidify a positive relationship between parent and teenager.
3. Spend time with them.
During the teenage years, it seems like the last thing they want to do is hang out with their parents. However, you must compromise on time to spend with each other. Invite your teenager to do things with you. Make it a stress-free time, not a serious talk time. Pick a day or work with them to create a new tradition that you both can enjoy weekly; this can help build trust and strengthen the relationship.
The blog is written by :
Yvonne King, Intern MFT