4 Ways to Connect Better With Your Teen

Being a parent is hard. Being a parent to a teenager is even harder. A young adult shares how parents can connect better with their teenagers who seek a balance between disciplinarian and friend.

Even if you think you know everything about your children, when they grow older you may need to get to know them again without assumptions, judgment, or superficiality. At this point, your teen is looking to you for support and guidance as well as structure and discipline. There are three basic things you need to connect with a teen: an open mind, a sense of equality, and a supportive attitude. Remember those three things, and you’ll have a closer relationship in no time.

1. Learn to Listen

Start by getting to know your teen’s interests and their social and school life. If you find yourself completely clueless about any of those things, just ask. This is especially true for those of you who are building a brand-new relationship with a teen, like foster parents or relatives. A big key to getting your teen to open up is to find common ground. Talk about your own life and what your social and work life are like. You do not need to pretend you are also experiencing everything your teen is going through, but a sense of relatability can do wonders for your relationship. If you don’t seem to relate with them about anything, don’t panic. This is a good opportunity to be quiet and just listen.

2. Respect Our Growth

In our teen years, we still need plenty of parenting, but we are hoping to develop a balance between discipline, guidance, and support. When we hear our parents say “When I was your age things were so much harder than they are for kids today,” it invalidates the experiences and struggles we do have. We want you to treat us more like adults than kids and show us respect for the young adults we are becoming.

3. Be Sincerely Supportive

Supporting your teen means that while you’re going to show up for them in the good moments and highlights, you’re also paying attention to when they’re struggling and showing that you want to be there for them through the hard times as well. It can be really difficult for a teen to open up when they’re struggling, so this is when you have to be patient. Prove that you’re not going anywhere and that you won’t reject them for their situation. Show love and encouragement to them while they navigate life at this age.

4. Make Time

It may feel like your teen is pushing you away, but they are actually craving one-on-one time with you—just on their terms. When teens feel overcrowded or micromanaged, they can get resentful and distance themselves. But if they feel like you are interested in spending time with them doing something they like, they are more likely to take you up on the chance to do something together.

Connections take time, just like everything else in life. Be patient, open, and real, and you’ll find that parenting a teenager isn’t so scary after all.

Excerpted from “4 Ways to Connect Better With Your Teen” in Parents Magazine. Read the full article online.

Source: Parents | 4 Ways to Connect Better With Your Teen, https://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/teenagers/ways-to-connect-better-with-your-teen | © Copyright 2021 Meredith Corporation

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