Staying Connected with Your Teen

mother with her two teenage daughtersAs you kids grow up and become teenagers, one day you're going to look at them and wonder who these kids are living in your home. The teen years can be difficult. If you have teens of your own you know that they seem to change into different people during their teen years. You'll see a glimpse of maturity and suddenly they are rebellious and childish once again.

Sometimes it can be difficult to stay connected to your teen during these tumultuous years. However, there are some things you can do to stay more connected with your teen. Even though there is an age and generation gap there, here are some important tips that can help you to stay connected with your teen as they go through the years approaching adulthood.

Listening is as Important as Talking

As parents sometimes we talk too much. Sure, there is a time for talking. However, with a teenager you'll find that listening to them is as important as talking. Why? Well, when you listen to your child you are opening up lines of communication, letting them know that they can talk to you when they need to. You'll also find out a lot of important information from your teen if you take the time to listen to them. Make sure you keep your heart open. When you listen to them they get an opportunity to express themselves, which is important for their development.

Learn to Communicate Your Values Without Attacking

It's very important that you learn how to communicate your values with your child. You should let them know your own values and why you hold them. When you let them know your values, you need to do this without attacking them. They are developing values of their own during their teen years but if you attack them and come across as "preaching" to them, they'll probably turn you off.

When it comes to important values, let them know what you think about the topic and you also need to make sure that you communicate your values through your actions as well. Setting the example and communicating your values in this manner will give them good guidelines and will also allow them to realize it's okay for them to come up with their own ideas about life.

Give More Freedom When they Show More Responsibility

While it's easy to hold on to your teen and try to protect them by keeping them "reined" in, you do need to give them more freedom over time. Of course they need to earn that freedom though. When they show more responsibility then offer them an increase in the freedom that they have. If they show responsibility with meeting their curfew, then consider extending it a small amount on the weekend. As you show them that their responsibility pays off, they'll respect you more and more. They'll also be more likely to come to you about things instead of shutting you out when you treat them this way.

Expect Some Defiance and Friction from Time to Time

Even as you are doing your best to stay connected to your teen there are going to be some times where there is some friction and there may even be some defiant moments as well. Realize that this is something to be expected from teens. In reality your teen's brain doesn't work the same way that yours done. They can easily be irrational and truly believe that they are right. After all, they don't have a lot of experience to make them more rational. Parents on the other hand make decisions and formulate opinions on their experiences. This means your ideas aren't always going to meet in the middle. Sometimes teens use defiance as a way to make themselves feel more independent. Learn to live with this.

Let the Small Issues Go

If you want to stay connected with your teen and keep the lines of communication open, then you are going to need to learn to let those small issues go. Instead of going overboard with punishment for something small that really doesn't matter that much and is a cause that isn't worth fighting for, save that for the big conflicts that you have. When you have big confrontations about small issues, it breaks down the bond and the lines of communication.

Save the big time punishments, including restrictions, for the times when big offenses occur that really matter. The fact they don't dress in a way you like is a small matter. Missing curfew by 2 minutes is a small matter. Don't hurt your relationship by making small issues a big deal.

Instead of looking at your teen and seeing a stranger, they can become young friends and colleagues if you keep connected with them. No, you should not give up your authority role and you definitely should command respect, but with these tips you can work to stay connected with your teen. This will help you build a lasting relationship with them that will last as they become adults.

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