Parents, are you feeling the loss of not being able to communicate with your teenager like you did when he/she was younger? Do you want to feel more connected to your adolescent because he/she seems to be pulling away from you?
When our children enter their teenage years they feel like a different person to themselves and others. Their whole psyche is changing. They want to feel independent and at the same time are mad because they are still dependent on you as a parent. They are in an “in between place;” one that often changes day to day. Their emotions are flying around and they don’t seem anchored. They actually need us more than ever, but the skill set as a parent of an adolescent is different from a younger child. As a parent we want to feel we have control, but it seems like our control with our adolescent is slipping through our fingers. We end up in power struggles where we get our “buttons” pushed. We try to protect them by giving them advice and then sense our teenager is ‘turning us off.’
Here are some tips to help restore your relationship with your adolescent :
- When you are emotionally charged give yourself a “time out” before you engage with your teen. Find a place to just take a few breaths and ground yourself. Then go back and begin a conversation calmly. Most likely nothing will get accomplished with an argument, but being calm can restore your interaction.
- Expect that they may NOT want to talk to you. Maybe you have had arguments before and resentments have built up between you both. Maybe your teen is ‘shut down’ and doesn’t speak to anyone. Don’t let that deter you. Start conversations anyway.
- Use listening skills with your teen. HEAR your adolescent when they talk even if you do not like what they are saying. It is a good way to build the trust back. A really good book for parents is How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk by Adele Farber and Elaine mazlish.
- Try to guess what your teen is going through. For example, are they experiencing changes going on with friendships? Are they feeling left out? Are the pressures of school, sports and peers draining them? Are they struggling in school? Are drugs starting to appeal to them? Look for the signs of drug or alcohol use.
- Put some positive time in your schedule with your teen. Take some time for just the two of you. Do something simple that you both enjoy. A trip for ice cream, frozen yogurt, a drive together and a chat about anything and nothing. Just have some time. Your teen will feel valued and will be more open to talking about serious things later.
- Laugh, share, be silly, enjoy your adolescent!
- Take care of yourself. Talk to a friend and share your frustrations, write in a journal, do something nice for yourself. Recharge.
I hope this has been helpful. If you would like more information, please email me or set up a Free Discovery Session.