Parent-teen relationships are difficult to manage, and everyone agrees with that. Yes, parents joke about dreading the teen years, but the fact is, the joking is a sign of the real discomfort that lurks behind parenting these creatures and the complicated teen relationships they now have to develop.
Parenting teenagers is a monumental task, it demands a whole lot of patience, but the rewards are enormous and if done right, worth it. It takes determination, creativity, and perseverance and here today, in this article, I will be revealing 6 techniques that can help improve your parent-teen relationship.
1. Try understanding and accepting their situation with love:
If there's one thing teenagers have in common, it's complaining. They complain that their life is miserable and everything wrong is happening to them. You must understand that this is a phase of life where everything gets exaggerated. They are experiencing everything for the first time; this makes them very insecure and confused about what they should do to face the situation.
The first step in improving your parent-teen relationship is accepting the fact that your teenagers are not going to be what they were as a child, they'll rebel for no reason, question you, and reject everything related to their childhood.
The next step in improving your relationship is to give love and support. Shift more responsibilities their way and make them feel that they are adding value to the family and their opinions are respected. Give them some space, allow them to explore their emotions and ask you for support where required.
2. Take time to listen:
Once your child grows into a teenager, change should not just be seen in your teenager's life but also in yours. This is what makes parenting teenagers a tough task - as parents, sticking to the old way of handling things is not going to help improve your relationship. The secret technique here is about changing your role from "tell" to "listen." Yes, it is that simple, enough of the advice, just listen. And as you do this, you will realize that it is far more rewarding, it becomes easy for them to open up to you. This way, you get to know and understand their feelings, which is crucial as it provides pointers to what your teen is thinking and where they need more support.
3. Focus on behaviors rather than person:
Teen counseling and Family counseling has taught me this very one; teenagers take offense when direct comments are made on them. It is imperative that you focus on the behavior rather than the person when giving feedback.
Now, instead of saying, "You are a very dirty boy, go clean your room right away," say something like, "Your room is not well kept, and it is dirty – please go ahead clean it."
4. Treat them like they’re capable of taking responsibility:
To improve your parent-teen relationship you've got to treat them like adults - ask for their opinions, give them options and also encourage them to come up with solutions to issues faced. This, in turn, makes them more confident and secure. Please, the idea here is to take their opinion and not drop the whole responsibility on them, you're still the parent & make the final decision.
5. Take an interest in their life:
While you're still treating them like adults, you must understand that there has to be a fine balance. You cannot let the run too loose or too tightened. Having a quiet hour before bed to simply discuss the day or just some latest developments in whatever interests your teenager can help to develop the rapport.
A bonus tip here is you can also improve the parent-teen relationship with movies and music. Even if normally you don't allow anything but G-rated movies and music at home, with their smartphones and all, there is no doubt your teen will see and hear what is out there. Now, instead of ruling with an iron fist, trying to forbid your teen these things, do this:
- Find out the movies and music your teens are interested in, this way you can make a fair judgment about the content, then
- Understand that you cannot control everything they see and hear, but on the other hand, you can maintain open communication and get the chance to help them understand that what they actually see and hear doesn't always reflect your beliefs, ideals, values and expectation.
6. Do things together:
Doing things together means spending time with your teen. Set up an agenda for the whole month. In each week, think of exciting activities you both can do together. For example, both of you can go bowling or swimming or play video games together.
You can also opt for other activities like going to the movie, camping, fishing, or visiting a college where your teen looks forward to joining in the future.
Finally, positive communication without underestimating your teen is the ultimate secret to a successful parent-teen relationship. Clearly, it won’t work at once. But keep trying these tips progressively, and you'll definitely enjoy your time being a parent of a teenager.