How to Get Closer to Your Teenager
Adolescence is a stage that can be complex for the parent-child relationship. It's always advisable to keep up communication as an ideal way to solve conflicts. Likewise, patience and understanding on the part of the parents are fundamental.
When children reach adolescence, communication problems commonly arise. Although we have a deep love for our children, generational differences seem to move us further apart. You may find yourself constantly wondering how you can get closer to your teenager.
Tips to help you get closer to your teenager
Adolescence is a key and very complex stage in people’s lives. Teenagers have to deal with many factors, such as physical and hormonal changes, the discovery of sexuality, worries about the future, the pressure of society… Nothing prepares us for all of this.
In practice, parents’ support and an open family dialogue represent essential aspects for a healthy adolescence. Below we’ll summarize three tips that will help you get closer to your teenager.
1. Understand and don’t judge: remember that we’ve all been teenagers
Today’s young people are born with technology intertwined with their identities and the way they see the world. Therefore, they have their own language and act under codes that don’t always coincide with ours. This way, their vocabulary, preferences and ideologies may seem very strange to us.
However, we must never forget that we were also teenagers once and, at some point, we felt misunderstood by society. The best thing is to move away from prejudices and stereotypes and focus on understanding the world of young people.
Fortunately, the Internet and social media can help introduce parents to the language of teenagers and the way they think. However, you also need to spend time talking with them, knowing how they feel and what their needs, fears and expectations are.
Encourage honest dialogue in the home to create an environment where young people feel invited to speak. They must also learn to overcome their impulsiveness and relax in order to talk and listen.
The best way to get closer to your teenager is to demonstrate that you’ll be there for them whenever they need it. Don’t judge or criticize. Simply listen and talk to them with sincerity and with a helpful mentality.
2. Give them the opportunity to make their own mistakes
Yes, as parents we’ll always do everything in our power to protect our children and give them the best. However, we must also understand that they’ll grow, make their own decisions and eventually make mistakes. It’s part of life and learning, like it or not.
One mistake parents often make involves overprotecting their children. This greatly impairs their relationship with adolescent children. Of course, it’s not about being excessively permissive or ignoring the symptoms of problems they may have at this age.
We must remember that adolescence is the time young people feel the need to take their own steps. If we try to lock them down or deprive them from discovering the world, we’ll create a barrier in our relationship and struggle to communicate with them.
Of course, we need to advise them and guide them about the importance of being aware, taking care of themselves and choosing their friends wisely.
But we must also learn to respect their privacy and understand that they’re individuals in training who need to open their horizons to expand their mind.
“The best thing is to move away from prejudices and stereotypes and focus on understanding the world of young people. We need to spend time talking with them, knowing what they feel and what their needs, fears and expectations are.”
3. Allow them to teach you
Unfortunately, many people still believe that only the oldest and most experienced people have something worthwhile to teach others. In truth, we can always learn something valuable from everyone we meet if we open our minds.
Of course, teenagers don’t have life experience. But that doesn’t mean they have nothing to teach you. If you give them the opportunity to express themselves freely, young people will show you an admirable intelligence and sensitivity.
Your child can explain better than anyone how to understand his needs, fears and expectations as a teenager. This is essential in order to get closer to your teenager and improve communication.
It’s very important for us to allow our children to teach us, regardless of society’s stereotypes. In addition, teenagers can help us in a rapidly changing world. Your teenager probably knows a lot about new technologies and trends in the digital age.
Beyond modernizing and updating, this exchange of learning allows you to share quality moments and get closer to your teenager. Along with the two guidelines above, they make up a set of strategies that will undoubtedly give you good results.