Best Ways to Stay Connected with Teens
- Nov 25, 2015
t was 9.40 p.m. Michelle returned home and locked herself in her room. Then, she sat at her desk, her pen pressed to her forehead, and her study schedule open in front of her. Michelle’s exams were lurking around the corner, and she was yet to collect her notes. To make matters worse, her mind was preoccupied with the thoughts of the bitter argument she had had with her best friend last night. And, when her mother called her to the dinner-table, she simply refused to join.
Now, this eighteen-year-old lady was experiencing one of the most complicated issues of teenage life: ‘mood swings’.
Gradually, Michelle stopped communicating with her parents. She even refused to acknowledge the presence of her parents in her house, and spent her time brooding, her head buried in her palms. Consequently, her stress levels shot up, and Michelle started skipping the lectures at college – unable to cope up with the seemingly complex challenges of life!
Michelle D’Souza is one of the innumerable teenagers who find it tough to deal with people around them.
Why do Teens Find it Tough to Deal with Relationships?
This is quite natural. For, teenage marks the transition between childhood and adolescence. It is that critical point of time when children undergo hormonal changes. As they stand on the threshold of life, they start expecting more freedom and understanding from parents. Moreover, they are exposed to multiple challenges – parental expectations, peer pressure, and the struggle to outdo competition and emerge victorious in academics.
This creates in them a sense of rebelliousness – and they start gaining pleasure from saying ‘no’ to their parents.
Teens are, therefore, more inclined towards making their own choices and decisions. In such circumstances, parents need to be the pillars of support for their children. It is high time parents understand their teens and make friends with them so that children share their anxieties, aspirations, and dreams with parents.
How to Stay Connected with Teens?
Parents need to build a bridge between them and their teenaged children. The best way to do it is to: communicate with teens as often as it is possible.
Dear parents, you need to talk it out with your beloved children. Show them you love, and you care. They need to know that you are concerned about their physical and psychological health and want the best for them.
Continue reading to know about some of the best ways to stay connected with teens.
#1. Eat Together
When was the last time you shared a meal with your teenaged child?
Even if your child refuses to join you at the dinner-table, insist upon her doing so. You can cook some of her favorite meals to lure her over to the dining table. Then, ask her to taste some of the delicious food – so that she cannot resist the temptation of joining you for dinner!
Eating together gives you a golden opportunity to connect with your teens.
For instance, you can pick up a conversation with your child over dinner. Your child might choose to discuss the latest learning issues she might be confronting in school or college. Or, she might wish to discuss the latest project that she has been assigned in which she requires your assistance. Your child might also like to share with you her memorable moments during the day, or an interesting conversation she just had with her friend over the phone.
Your child might even wish to discuss with you current affairs and the latest world events or politics.
Parents can also discuss their life with their teenaged children over dinner. The idea is to squeeze some time out of the daily schedule to communicate with your children.
#2. Let your Teen Have an Opinion
As parents, you need to understand that your teen is no longer a little child. He has been growing into an adult and has individual tastes, likes and dislikes.
Teenage is a time when your children are developing problem-solving skills. So naturally, they should learn how to make important decisions independently. And most importantly, they should be capable of forming opinions on their own. It is the responsibility of parents to teach their teens how to be more responsible human beings who know their duties.
For this, parents need to understand that the opinion of their children would differ from those of their own.
However, it is perfectly alright, as long as the opinion of your child is practical. In fact, if your child is still not able to form opinions independently, there is cause for concern. Do you know how you can encourage your child to develop his own opinion?
All you need to do is to organize a debate at home.
Select any topic based on current affairs and give your child a topic. Then, ask her to present her opinion on it and offer her views.
#3. Listen to Your Child
Next, you need to listen to your teenaged child. And also, at times, you need to listen to your child without giving her advice.
I have observed that when parents are ready to listen, teens are not willing to open up, and when the adolescent is ready to speak out, her parents are not available for listening to her. But, if you are eager to stay connected with your teen, you should be a great listener.
Listen to her as she talks about a party that she attended last weekend or a school picnic.
Be all ears for your child as she vents out her frustrations at not being able to complete her Calculus assignment. Also, make it a point to learn from their mistakes. If she tells you about why she picked up a fight with her best friend, listen to it carefully before you give your opinion.
Another thing you need to bear in mind is: not to share the secrets of your child with anybody else.
Do not break the trust that your child has in you and soon you would discover that your child is quite willing to share her secrets with you.
#4. Cook Together
If you have been noticing that your teenaged child has been avoiding all sorts of interactions with you, you need to find out ways to connect with him.
One of the most effective ways of communicating with your teenaged children is to cook together with them. Some kids share a passion for cooking and love experimenting in the kitchen. They would love the idea of indulging in their passion, and for a change, cooking along with their mother.
You can choose to cook anything that your child suggests.
For instance, you can go about preparing a delicious meal of pasta or pizza. Having said that, make sure your child is enthusiastic about cooking it as well.
To start with, you can ask your child to help you cut the vegetables. Next, you can ask her to knead the dough. Afterwards you can work with her together in gathering the other ingredients of the pizza that you both are working on. When you cook with your child, she receives the guidance and assistance that would be necessary for cooking up a storm in the kitchen.
This would boost her confidence levels considerably and she would also start trusting you more.
#5. Appreciate your Child
Every child is blessed with ingenuity and a great deal of creativity. While some children can paint beautifully, there are others who can dance or sing. On the other hand, a few others possess the ability to write well. Parents need to recognize the talents of their child and appreciate them.
For instance, if your child learns a lesson in a short span of time, you need to admire her efforts in doing so.
Tell her, “I appreciate the hard work you have put into mastering your lessons, so keep up the good work.” Sometimes, your child might be able to learn the tunes of a new song within an hour. Notice the effort your child makes and do remember to comment on an optimistic note.
Most teens grumble that their parents do not notice their attempts to accomplish something.
I would suggest you do not give your teenaged child the excuse to say this. When you appreciate your child, your child immediately feels good about his new achievement. Also, she starts feeling more confident about her skills and talents.
#6. Support the Adult Friendships of your Teen
Companionship is really very important for teenagers. This is because peers are roughly about the same age as your teenaged child and provide understanding support to her.
However, most of your children’s friends are immature as they are of similar age as that of your teens.
This is one of the main reasons why you should motivate your child to develop ‘adult friendships’. The influence of adult friends is essential for your teen as it would enable him to develop more maturity. Parents, of course, can be the best of friends for teenaged children.
Having said that, your children also need to foster friendships with other adults.
For instance, you can ask your child to make friends with the seniors in her college. If she can befriend her seniors, she would be benefitted from them in terms of academics. Not only that. Your child can also share her learning issues with her seniors who can guide her in reaching her goals.
You can also help your teenaged child connect with a neighbor who is an adult.
This adult friend can offer feedback, advice and suggestions to your child and explain the importance of bonding with parents.
#7. Help your Teen Reach her Goals
I agree this might be a bit difficult for parents. But, parents need to know the goals of their child and help her attain those objectives.
Firstly, you should ask your child about her aspirations.
For instance, you can ask your child about her dream career. Ask her about her higher education choices. Instead of trying to convince her to follow your wishes, encourage her to follow her own dreams.
Therefore, ask your child about her goals.
Once you are aware of them, start assisting her in her journey of realizing her goals and ambitions. You might be honest with her about your views on some of her goals. But then, you also need to show that your child can depend on you for any kind of assistance she might require.
I hope the above guidelines help you in establishing a great relationship with your teenaged children, dear parents. All you need to remember is: nurture them with adequate love and care in order to help them blossom into intelligent, successful and amazing human beings.
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