The teenage years have arrived and as a parent, it is a period of transition for you as well. Along with the biological and physical changes caused by hormones, your teenager undergoes lots of emotional and mental changes too. They are no longer your little kids, they have started growing individualization.
During this time, it can be difficult to communicate with your child as they go through many mental and physical changes. There are some ways in which you can make this turbulent period smoother for both your teenager and indirectly easier for you.
Ways to understand a growing teenager
Find out what you must do to understand your teenager better:
1. Listen without interrupting
As they grow old, children start to share less with their parents and are more involved with their peer group. It may become difficult for the parent to get used to this as they are used to their child telling every single thing happening throughout the day. You may try to initiate a conversation with your teenager, but they may seem disinterested and not be fully invested in the conversation. Do not take it personally.
2. Give them Space
Your child is going through a transformation, both physically and psychologically. They need time to figure out what is going on within and around them. Do not push your child, once they are ready, they will start talking. You need to make sure that you listen. Do not interrupt them and let them speak. Make sure that you are available for your child and that they feel comfortable sharing with you. If you aren’t approachable or you don’t listen to them, they may close off and avoid sharing with you. The best thing to do is to be patient and just listen.
3. Give advice only when asked
There are times when our children make mistakes and we allow them to do that. They get into bad habits like smoking and drinking and behave rudely when you oppose them. You should navigate the things you can let go but be firm about the ones where you must intervene.
As parents, it will be tough for you to not correct your child all the time, but you also have to let them explore their mistakes and learn from them. Rather than finding your teenager go against you about everything, let them also realize why you are right about things. This can only happen when they realize the mistakes they made. So allow them to do such mistakes and learn from them, but be firm about things like education, bad habits, and other possible aspects.
4. Let them have exposure and make mistakes
Your child is growing up and interacting with the outside world more and more. They are slowly learning the ways of the world. Give them some freedom to make mistakes and learn on their own. If you brush off everything they say, they may start to resent you.
5. Set firm boundaries for your teenager
You are used to knowing every little detail of your child’s life from when they wake up to who are their close friends. But as your child grows up, they may become reserved and conscious about their personal lives. It is a very natural thing and you shouldn’t take it in a negative way.
6. Give them privacy
Your child is at a delicate age and is still figuring out who they are. Allow them some privacy to show them that you are aware of the fact that they have matured. Do not press for details if your child is reluctant to share anything with you. They may open up eventually. Little things like knocking their door before entering and letting them excuse themselves when they are on the phone will make it easier to gain their confidence. Your child will appreciate you for it.
7. Pay attention to their life
You should know what are the major things going on in your child’s life. You should know where your child is at all times, who they hang out with, and what do they do in their spare time. This is to ensure their safety. They may get annoyed with you for being too nosy, but they are still young and you are just doing your duty as a parent.
8. Validate their feelings
The mood swings will come out of nowhere and will seem uncontrollable. There will be a whirlpool of emotions and feelings as well as pent up aggression, anger, and frustration. They may seem extremely touchy and may react at the slightest provocation. It will be difficult not to get annoyed when they are in one of their moods. Do not confront them immediately. Give them some time to cool off. Eventually, ask them what’s on their mind. Sometimes they may not realize what emotion they are experiencing and act out to show their frustration.
9. Be there for them
Ask what is bothering them and acknowledge their feelings. Sometimes, the reason behind their outburst may seem trivial and insignificant to you, but it may probably be affecting them a lot. Always validate their feelings and show that you understand. Do not downplay their emotions and tell them to get over it. Teach them how to deal with their emotions in a healthy way.
10. Don’t Chastise them
You should avoid nit-picking and criticizing your teen for little things. To you, it may seem harmless, but for your child, it can have an impact on their self-esteem. Do not be critical of everything they do, allow them to make mistakes. They are only human. In case you don’t approve of something they do, have a civilized conversation with them about it and be patient with them. You should always be careful of the language you use and the tone you adopt while talking to your child. Your child is not so little anymore, treating them like one may lead them to develop negative emotions and it will cause a blow to their self – esteem.
Root for your child all the way. Praise and encouragement should not be limited to childhood, you should continue to congratulate your teenager on their success and victory. Be observant and acknowledge their positive behavior whenever possible. It will do wonders to increase their confidence. Always be encouraging and support your teen in everything they do.
These are some important pointers that you should keep in mind when it comes to your teen. Using these approaches will help you to develop and nurture a positive and healthy relationship with your child.