As a mom of a tween girl I’m aware of the challenges of raising tweens and teens. It seems like this day in age it’s more difficult because of social media. My guest blogger today, Isabel F. William, has some great tips on getting closer to your teen kids. I know that personally I’ll take any advice I can get…
How to Get Closer to Your Teen Kids in 10 Easy Steps
Adolescence brings a lot of changes into the relationship between parents and their children. Many parents find it difficult to manage their new roles – while some lose their parental authority trying to be their children’s friends, others lose touch with them trying to impose their authority. Therefore, if your relationship with your teen kids has hit the rocks, here’s how you can improve it in ten easy steps.
The role model
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” ― James Baldwin
Since their early days, children tend to (sub)consciously imitate their parents and their behaviors. Once they’ve reached puberty, teenagers start (sub)consciously doing everything opposite. The first phase of a parent-child relationship develops out of a child’s desire to become one with their parents as a way of achieving protection and safety. The other phase represents the differentiation and separation from parents as a teenager’s attempt to assert their own individuality. Thus, parents are left with a difficult and important task to adjust their parenting methods to the evolving relationship with their children.
Support and Guidance
“Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them.” ― Bill Ayers
Your children need your love, support and guidance throughout their whole life, but they also need freedom to shape their identities on their own. It’s important that you find the right approach to get closer to them without asserting too much authority because it can lead to their alienation. Here are ten useful tips that can help you achieve that.
Instead of trying to be your children’s best friend, remember that you are the parent and that your children need your moral guidance and mentorship rather than laxity.
Don’t just disregard your children’s opinions and feelings because “you know better”. Listen to what they have to say in order to nurture an open and honest communication.
Let your children make their own mistakes because this way, they’ll develop their own good judgement.
Your children need privacy, so respect their boundaries – you shouldn’t read their diaries and messages or listen to their phone calls. You’ll only lose their trust and push them away.
When your children have done something wrong, you should act rationally and control your anger. Instead of yelling, talk to them, explain why you’re upset and listen to their side of the story.
If you expect your children to respect certain rules, you need to make those rules clear. Be consistent with your expectations, as well as the consequences for breaking the rules.
Make time for some activities that you can do together as a family. However, try to plan something that your children will enjoy rather than asserting your own interests.
Remember that your children still look up to you even if it doesn’t seem like it. If you want them to adopt certain values and behaviors, you need to be a good role model.
If there’s a serious problem in your relationship, you should consider going for family therapy where you can resolve the issues and bridge the gap.
Don’t hesitate to apologize and own up to your own mistakes. It’s perfectly fine to show your children that you aren’t perfect.