Managing your teen will always be complex because they are learning to set their own boundaries and test where yours are. You may often ask yourself, “Am I overreacting?” when an argument or other conflict gets heated. You can learn more about connecting with your teen by calling Venture Academy at 866.762.2211 or connecting with us online.
Understanding Why the Parent/Teen Relationship Is Tough
One of the reasons parents and teens stop getting along as well as they used to is because they spend less time together. You shared more after-school time when your teen was younger, even while helping them with homework. But that’s usually not the case once the child becomes a teen.
Teens are also trying to assert their independence and so may not want to be seen with their parents. They may seek out interests that separate them from what you and their siblings like including:
- The music they listen to
- How they dress
- How they talk
- What movies they like
This stage is short-lasting, but it can be tough for parents.
Privacy is another huge concern for teenagers. They may spend more time in their rooms or anywhere else that is not the room where you are. This strains the parent/teen relationship and makes communicating more difficult.
How to Connect With Your Teenager
Positive parenting strategies are essential for dealing with a teen.
1. Give Your Teen Space
One of the most important things you can do when trying to learn how to connect with your teenager is to give them space. Teens have a right to privacy, and they may not want to talk with you when you feel like it. Giving them the space they need means they can get ready to communicate when they need to — and without feeling forced to do so.
2. Practice Active and Empathetic Listening
You may have heard from your teen that you don’t listen to them. Not feeling heard can make a teen want to avoid a conversation. When speaking with your teen, make sure that you can give them your undivided attention. Let your teen talk without interrupting them until they have finished. Even if you disagree with their point, be respectful of their opinion.
3. Build Opportunities for Communication
Another of the most important positive parenting strategies is finding time to communicate in a meaningful way. A good rule of thumb is having one dinner a week where the whole family has to be present. This opens up the chance to share anything the teen might want to say.
Conversely, you also want to be ready to seize any opportunities that arise to communicate with your teen. Be spontaneous and try to spark a conversation when the opportunity presents itself.
4. Don’t Overreact
Try to put the problem in perspective when your teen does something wrong. For example, if they say a curse word when you’ve forbidden them from doing so in the house, a simple comment is enough.
You don’t have to have an intense reaction to a minor infraction because that will make other reactions less meaningful in the future. Instead, you want to make sure to vary your reactions and punishments to align with the severity of their wrongdoing.
5. Set Limits
Although it may seem like your teen wants freedom more than anything, they really do need limits. The limits create the structure they need to feel safe. They may not be ready to admit they want a curfew, but they do. It means people care enough about them to want to keep them safe.