6 Keys to Living with a Teenage Child

Living with a teenage child can be a real torment. Through a series of keys, living together can improve profoundly.
6 Keys to Living with a Teenage Child

Last update: 17 February, 2022

It’s no secret that adolescence is a complicated time. Living with a teenage child can generate a lot of instability in the family environment and, eventually, can end up seriously deteriorating the relationship between parents and children. Therefore, in this article, you’ll find a series of keys that facilitate a quality family coexistence.

Living with a teenager, what to do?

1. Show interest in their daily life

Just as in any type of relationship, showing interest in the hobbies and life events of the other party is crucial in parent-child relationships. Listening and showing interest in each other is the key to building trust in interpersonal relationships.

Teens need to feel listened to by their parents. Ask them daily about what’s new in their lives or what’s not so new: How their friendships are going, what they like to do, etc. And, finally, let them know that they can count on you when they’re in trouble.

2. Respect their space

By respecting their space, we’re not only referring to respecting their privacy in their room, but also to respecting their intimacy in all aspects.

As mentioned above, it’s good to ask them about their friendships, their likes and dislikes, and their daily life. However, they shouldn’t share everything with you. Everyone needs some privacy, especially teenagers, who are at a stage where they need to discover and define themselves.

A father trying to talk to his teenage daughter.

3. Make sure they get your message

No matter how many times we repeat or think we’ve clearly expressed our commands or desires, we can’t assume that our message has reached them. In addition, we can’t expect them to act without our having previously and expressly asked them to do so, no matter how obvious it may seem to us.

Avoid suggestions and recommendations and, of course, inconclusive orders and wishes. You should ask them exactly what you want them to do, what you want them to tell you, or simply what you want them to know, such as an important date or an appointment.

4. Exercise your authority only when necessary

Pediatrician Carlos Gonzalez advises reserving authority for serious problems, that is, when it’s really necessary. If you frequently show anger and authority, even with trifles and trivialities, your teenager will get used to seeing you like this and will think it’s part of your personality.

On the other hand, if you only bring out your authority as a parent in critical and important moments, your child will understand that it’s a really serious matter, making it easier for them to understand.

5. Teach them to negotiate, the key to living with a teenager

The fact that you and your child don’t agree on everything is completely normal and, you could even say, healthy. However, confrontations during adolescence can lead to real family conflict. And, undoubtedly, the most effective way to resolve this type of situation is through negotiation

Teaching them that conflicts are resolved through healthy negotiation, that is, one in which both parties win, is key to living with a teenager. Not only will it help to manage conflict without damaging your relationship, but the teenager will also be learning a series of very valuable social skills for their future personal and professional life.

A mother having a serious conversation with her teen daughter.

6. Give them the opportunity to say no”

In principle, it’s true that children and adolescents should understand from an early age that they must respect and obey their mother or father just because they’re their parents. However, we must also give them the opportunity to learn to sayno”, which is crucial for the development of their personality and critical thinking.

González points out that adolescents must learn that they have the right to say “no” and, at the same time, parents must respect their children’s refusals (within reason). It’s also healthy for teens to question their parents, both for the child-parent relationship and for the adolescent’s own personality.

“If you teach your child to always obey without complaint, through phrases such as “because I said so”, how do you expect them to refuse when they’re offered alcohol, pills, unwanted sex, or to participate in delinquency?”

-Carlos Gonzalez

Living with a teenager: Make an effort to get to know them

There’s a widespread opinion that adolescence is a time of constant struggle against parents. However, despite this facade of apparent coldness, the reality is that teenagers, deep down, need to feel their parents’ affection and attention.

They need to know that their parents care about what they may feel or think and that they’re genuinely interested in their lives. In short, they like it when their parents make an effort to get to know them, one of the greatest signs of affection they value most.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.