7 Tips to Understanding Your Teen
By Ishank Katyal
Dealing with a teenager has always been the most complicated and challenging part of parenting—the significant change in brains and hormones, not to mention the impulsiveness and emotions that teens build after turning 13. External factors including academic pressure, peer pressure, social media, and many other problems adolescents face every day can affect them both mentally and emotionally and might restrain their relationship with their loved ones.
Here are some of the tips which might help you understand your teen better:
1. Listen to them
Your teen will listen to you only when you’re a good listener. It requires a lot of energy and patience, but it is a key tool for improving your relationship with them because it builds trust and helps them gain self-confidence and self-esteem.
2. Avoid asking too many questions
Kids become more uncomfortable when you keep asking them questions and it feels like an interrogation rather than a healthy conversation. Ask only those questions which are relevant to the situation, otherwise, they could get irritated and be hesitant to share their problems.
3. Give them space
Just like adults, teenagers also need some privacy and space from the people around them. Try to approach them not as a parent, but as an individual and learn to respect their privacy. Avoid barging into their room whenever you please and teach them the value of privacy and personal space.
4. Make sure they’re not addicted to their electronics
Do they find it difficult to put their phone down while studying or doing any important work? Try to limit their screen time (no matter how much they fight for it!) to give them a break from social media and the Internet. This helps them to learn to be in the moment and can foster some great conversations. Even a small gesture like putting their phones away and joining you for a walk can go a long way in bolstering their moods.
5. Treat your teen as an individual
Yes, they may take after you or your spouse, but your teen is their own person, with their own beliefs and opinions. Letting them express what they think and feel without judgement will help boost their self-esteem while fostering a great relationship. It can also make for some excellent dinner conversation.
6. Be honest with them
One of the best things you could do for your teen is to be honest. A positive parent-child relationship stems from healthy conversations. This is a stage of parenting where you can’t just get away by saying, “we are your parents, we know better!”. Try to maintain your integrity so that they could respond to you accordingly.
7. Get them help
If your teen is struggling and they feel like reaching out to someone apart from you, find a counsellor, a mentor or a therapist with whom they can feel comfortable sharing their stories.
Looking for more ways to connect with your teen? We have six ways to do just that here.