The further away you are from your own teen years, the harder it is to remember how unique this period of your life was. As a parent, you want the best for your teens, and understanding how to communicate with them is the first step. Here are 5 important things that parents need to remember when raising teenagers.
Always ready to listen
Jessica Cleary is an experienced psychologist and director of Hopscotch & Harmony Psychology. She understands parents want to come in to save time but says it’s important to know when to just listen.
“Teens want to feel heard but don’t necessarily want advice. When they share a problem or concern with you, ask “Do you want some advice or just someone to listen to?”. Usually it will be the latter. Validating their experiences without judgment will help your child confide in you more often, bringing the two of you closer together. We parents tend to want to ‘fix’ things for our kids, but when we provide a listening ear and a space for our children to talk, they feel understood. Feeling understood promotes self-worth, perceived acceptance, and enhances parent-child relationships. “
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They will change often
Teenagers are an unstable group. They are discovering who they are and more importantly who they want to be. You can expect them to go through stages with fashion, haircuts, and even bedroom decor. But the important thing is that you let them do it. Throw in each new identity as well as they test which ones will stick. It is not uncommon for teenagers to act differently from their parents and families than their peers. The best thing you can do is give them the freedom to get to know who they are, and at the same time remind them that you are there for them and that they can always turn to you for support.
Encourage them to follow their passion
Jean Sheehan is an international speaker, life skills counselor and loving mother. She believes that supporting your teenage passions will give them a strong sense of self as adults.
“Adolescent identities are built on learning about themselves from their own personal perspective.
To assist youth in building their identity, support and assist them in creating their own unique gifts. For example, if a teen admits that they are gifted in IT, English or any other pastime, this will help them build their own personal inner sense. As a result, they will become more aware of the careers, people, situations, and life paths that are right for them. It’s also important to support teens experimenting and creating safe boundaries where they know they can experiment with different situations in life.”
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They will run before they can walk
There’s something about youth that makes you feel invincible. From a scientific perspective, it is the continued development of the prefrontal cortex of adolescents that makes them impulsive and unpredictable. In their minds, they were fully grown adults ready to take on the world, but you know better. As a parent, you can still prevent them from doing anything too risky. As a mentor, you should realize they are maturing and will feel more respected if you explain your decision to them instead of just saying no.
Treating them like an adult can help teach children responsibility. Small changes like upgrading the bed from a single to an adult double will show them that you respect their growing maturity.
Call on your previous experiences
Registered psychologist, counselor, and play therapist Jay Anderson from My Child My family has many years of experience counseling children and adults. Her advice to parents is to build a strong relationship from the start to make the transition to teen smooth.
“The most important thing for any parent and teen is their relationship, and this has been nurtured and developed over the course of 13 years. When parents have a good relationship, are able to communicate with their children, share their values, and have good boundaries with their children – the teen years can be smoother.
Children need good role models and strong relationships with parents or carers to grow into healthy young adults. When the adults around them are able to spend time with them, listen, allow their feelings to be expressed and let them explore and find aspects of their personality. It can be a challenging time and at times it can aid in finding more information – attending family and relationship meetings or even finding a Counselor who can help you. can yield significant benefits. “
Talking to your teen isn’t always easy. They may be reluctant to open up or afraid of your judgment. Creating a safe, neutral space for discussion in your home will give you a place to hang out to catch up on regular meetings. Some conversations, such as sexual activity or alcohol, are too hard to come by at the family dinner table, but you don’t want to miss the teen’s concerns. Take your kids into an empty room or outdoor patio and let them know this will be an open discussion space where they can tell you anything – good or bad.
Why fit when you were born to stand out!
Catherine Plano is a career, life, and leadership coach who often works with teens and helps them along their path to adulthood. Here’s what she has to say about teenagers and their social lives:
“Teens enter adulthood, between the ages of 13 and 21, they develop different values. For example, between the ages of 8 and 13, they go through the modeling phase where they copy people, instead of accepting them for who they really are. They try other people’s values for size to see how they feel. Often, the people they model are people they admire or admire, be it parents, family members, teachers or friends. This is why they often want the same shoes and the same brand of jeans as their best friend.
They then move on to the socialization phase, from the age of 14 to 21, when their peers have the most influence on them. They naturally gather with like-minded people and form groups. As they grow as individuals, they rebel from their previous programs (family) or core values and turn to people outside of their family who seem more like them. Other influences at this age include media, especially if it aligns with their peer group values.
At this age they develop social relationships and values, this is why it is important to train teenagers to be individuals, to help them find their way and understand what is most important to them. “
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Just like any other stage of adulthood, the teen years pass in the blink of an eye. Get the most out of them by building strong relationships and healthy communication with your child.