The infamous and mostly misunderstood teenagers……..
The teenage lands, a vast expanse of growing from a child to becoming an adult. These lands are filled with confusion, emotional upheaval, sadness, elation and all emotions in between. They are as confusing to themselves as they are to us, the parental units. They are trying to figure out who they are while being told who to be. They are told what to do and how to do it. Many times they feel they have no control of “Their” life. To some degree this is true.
As a parent, we have been there before. We remember the times that we had. We as parents struggle to teach our kids how not to be.
We lecture endlessly because we don’t want our teens to make the same mistakes we have done or have seen.
We do not want to see our child fail as they grow into an adult. But with this inevitably come the clash of will. Your teen wants to be who they are, just as you want to be who you are. The only difference is we have more experience being who we are, and we often forget the process we took to become who we are. As a parent you need find ways to connect to your child through these most difficult times in life.
Turn both your phone and theirs off and put them somewhere out of sight. Sit down someplace where you can see each other. This may be awkward at first. It may be difficult to find topics to discuss. This is where the communication will start. You don’t have to make it a long time. Make an effort to engage with them. Ask them about what they love to do, or about what they want to do in the future. These insights might bring some commonalities in to focus. Do not lecture or give advice during this time, just listen. Starting the advice/lecture at this point will shut down the communication. Take the time to learn from your child, you may find it more interesting than you think.
This may put you out of your comfort zone, but that’s OK. Show your teen it is not all about you and what you want them to do. Allow them the freedom to do something they want and do it with them. If they want to play video games, play with them. If they want to go to a movie, let them choose the movie, and go with them. If they want to go dance, well get out and dance. If they want to do something crazy, well then, go do it with them (Within legal and ethical boundaries of course). The point is to do something they enjoy doing, and do it together.
You never know where or when you will find something you have in common.
Nothing can be worse than a teen trying to tell you about something and you are “Busy”. No matter if it’s work, wasting time on social media, watching Netflix, blogging, or even online schooling, make the time for them. If you don’t like that they ignore you when they are on their phone or gaming system, then do not do the same thing. When they search for your time and you are to busy to find the time, they will resent you when you demand time from them. The times your teen will come to you for help or advice are few and far between. It may be a sacrifice, but do not be the parent that is too busy.
If you have first done something they want to do, then it is time for them for them to do the same. AHHAHAHAHA! Now if your time was embarrassing with them, now is the time to reciprocate!
This is a simple way to gain time with your teen.
They are not the child that they used to be, so keep that in mind. Make an attempt to keep it something they might be a little bit interested in. I know that may not be fair, but who is the grown up? Sometimes we have to make a sacrifice for our kids. Remember the time together will be the most important aspect of your time together.
Getting involved in the interests of you teens is so important. It keeps you knowledgeable in your teens life. Knowing their dreams and desires out of life will help. The things that they are interested may not be interesting to you, but take the time to get involved and find out. You may find that there is something both of you like. When you can search and find those commonalities it will drastically increase your communication with you teen.
No matter the difficulty or the awkwardness of communicating with your teen, it is an important and necessary part of their life.
It is time for the parents to do the same. Be brave and take chances to know your teen. You may not always be the parent they like, but if you work on your relationship, you will be the parent they respect and love as an adult.