As the parent of a pre-teen or teenager, you may long for the days when you could hold your child on your lap and they were eager to talk, laugh, and play with you. Those days may be long gone, but you can still find ways to connect with your teen. Here are a few tips to make process easier.
Talk About Your Past Experiences
If your teen is having a problem, they may think they are the only one in the world who has ever had that particular problem. Talk to your teen about the situations you experienced as a teen. The clothes and music may have changed, but you still deal with peer pressure, sex, drugs, and homework. Let them know you understand and will be there for them, if they want to talk about their problem.
Express An Interest
Make time for your teen, and express an interest in what they are doing. You do not need to use this time to lecture them, or even talk. You can simply sit and watch their favorite show or listen to their favorite band. Try not to pass judgment or criticizeize anything. Just make time to "hang out". Your teen will appreciate your interest and this will help develop open lines of communication.
Let Them Know When You Are Wrong
It is hard to admit when you are wrong, especially to your children. However, admitting your mistakes, and apologizing if necessary, will strengthen your bond with your child. It will also let them know that it is okay to admit the things they have been wrong about.
Let Them Know You Love Them
They may roll their eyes and shrag whenever you say "but I love you", but they do care, and they like to hear it.
Go For A Drive
Ask your teen to take a drive with you. You do not have to have any particular place in mind, just start driving. The simple fact that you are in the car can help open up a conversation, and since you are not looking each other in the eye, it may be easier for your teen to talk to you.
Take Turns Listening And Speaking
Make a deal with your teen that when you are having a conversation, only one person can speak at a time. If you are speaking, your teen needs to sit and listen. When it is your teen's turn to speak, show them the same respect and listen to what they are saying.
While your goal is to have a better relationship with your teen, you still need to set boundaries and let them know that you are the parent. Teens may complain about rules, curfews, and chores, but secretly, they like the fact that you care enough to set them in the first place.