Teenagers seem to be in a whole world of their own or so parents might think. Sometimes, parents wonder where that innocent little girl or boy went. All of a sudden, parents no longer know their teenager nor are they able to communicate with them. Remember that you were once a teenager too. It’s just that when the shoe is on the other foot, it gets quite more challenging for parents. Having a closer relationship with your teen revolves around clear and effective communication.
Open communication and genuineness
Whether your teenager listens to you or not, you should never stop the communication process. If one method does not work, try something else. For example, asking your teenager about the current things that she is interested in may get her to talk to you. Let’s say that you have an accounting career and your teenager loves music, you cannot talk to your teenager about numbers. It just wouldn’t work. Instead, ask your teen to talk to you about a certain genre of music or about a specific singer. Your teen will open up to you as long as your concern is genuine. Your teenager will know if your curiosity is not real. You might as well not try to fool them. They are smarter than you think.
Someone once said that people don’t really care how much you know. They care more about how much you care. Maybe you know all there is to know about the singers that your teens listen to or the movies that they love, but if you don’t care genuinely about it, they won’t either. To show your teenager that you care about her interest, you have to invest your time. Yes, investing time from your busy schedule is impressive to a teenager. How you spend that time with your teen is even more impressive. What teenage girl doesn’t like shopping? Why not go on a shopping trip with your daughter and help her pick out some of the things that she likes. You will learn more than you thought you knew about your ‘grown up,’ little girl. Be sure that your teen enjoys whichever activity you pick.
The Privacy Factor
Teenagers love their privacy. They will do whatever it takes to protect it even if it means shutting you out. You should respect their privacy by all means. Instead of barging in on your teenagers, give them some space until they are ready to talk to you. Knock on the bedroom door before entering; even though you are the one who is paying the mortgage. The respect that you show your teen will be reciprocal.
Belief kills and it cures
Have confidence that your teenager will do the right thing even when you are not looking. Constantly tell your teen that you believe in who she is and not necessarily in her accomplishments. In most cases, all your teen wants is for someone to believe in her. In turn, this will make them want to believe in themselves. This is one of the cures for open communication. Your teen will trust the idea of coming to you with any issues that concerns her.
A teenager hates to be embarrassed especially in front of their friends. Nothing offends a teen more than a parent who makes them look bad when their friends are around. Think about your child’s feelings. Can you imagine how your teenager would feel if you came out on the street corner in your nightgown and bedroom slippers while she was saying goodbye to her boyfriend. Another example would be allowing your teenager to have a slumber party and kissing her goodnight while her friends looked on. Your teenager will never talk to you again.
Your teenager will respect the rules of your house if you set clear boundaries and stick to them. Don’t even tolerate any discussion about what their other friend’s parents allow them to do. Make your house rules stick. You may get some resistance at first, but once it is clear to them that you won’t budge, they will back off.
Open door policy
Let your teenager know that she can come to you at any time to discuss issues that she is concerned about. You must be able, as a parent, to be open to discussing topics that may be controversial and difficult to talk about such as teenage sex and teenage pregnancy. Your teenager will be confronted with this at some point in her teenager years and you will have to deal with that. If you don’t’ feel comfortable talking to your teenager about these hot topics, your teenager will get the information from her peers. This is not the best place for her to receive such delicate information.
Opinions that count
Your teenager has opinions about different things that you might oppose. Respect your teenager’s opinion. Even though, your teenager may not have reached adulthood and does not have the same life experiences as you do, it does not mean that your teenager does not have some compelling opinions too. Your job is to listen. Don’t brush off her opinions.
Communicating and interacting effectively with your teenager will help her later on in life to be a better communicator. Show your teenager at all times how much you care. Show your love in various ways and in most cases, a teenager prefers to have a parent that is available to them.