Posted Monday, September 16th 2013 @ 2pm
By: Angela L. Ardolino, www.ParentingwithAngela.com
The teenage years may seem to have a language all its own, but there are ways parents can communicate and connect with their teens. Below are some helpful hints to engage with your teenager!
- Listen to what they are saying and always remain calm. Assure them that nothing they tell you will make you judge them or not love them, they can tell you anything. If you freak out they will be less likely to tell you anything again! Remember, you were a teenager once and we all did some stupid things. Yelling at them about the stupid things isn’t going to help them or the situation. Listen to what they are saying and help them understand the consequences of what they do and say.
- Respect their opinions while challenging their arguments. The moment you begin to roll your eyes because of something your teenager is saying (even though it sounds ridiculous), remember your child's innocence and ask him/her questions that make your child think about what he/she has said or done. If you show them respect they will not only show you respect in return, but they will come to you when they need someone they can trust.
- Tell them the truth about everything. Seriously. If they ask you a question, tell them the truth. If they are mature enough to ask it, they are mature enough to hear the honest answer. By the time they are teenagers they should have been “talked to” about everything. If you don’t tell them what they need to know, someone else is going to and it may be the wrong person they get their information from.
- Teachable moments are everywhere. Start conversations about real life situations. When having to deal with the car, grocery shopping, chores, etc., involve them so they understand how life works, e.g. "Mom and dad work hard to earn money to give us the life we have." Children desire discipline and structure and having an open and honest line of communication with their parents is the most important lesson.
- Take the time to get to know your teenager. Reserve at least one night a week where there is a designated family night. Start conversations in the car during commutes. Play games that require asking questions about their views and opinions. Eat dinner together at the dinner table to create a perfect place to talk about the day. Go out on a date with your teenager, just the two of you and assure them of how much you appreciate the good things they do and what an important part of the family team they are. Times like these provide awesome bonding opportunities!
Photo: Elena Elisseeva/ Shutterstock