Connecting With Your Teen: 5 Important Tips
If you’re the parent of a teen, you have probably struggled to connect. Teens are no longer little children, but they are not yet adults – and they come with their own individual personality traits and concerns.
While it can be challenging, here are 5 important tips to help you in connecting with your teen.
1). Pay Attention to How They’re Feeling
Being a teenager comes with much more complex emotions and feelings. Your status in your peer group matters a lot more than it does in younger children, and your peers pay a lot more attention to how you look.
There’s also the whole issue of romantic feelings and attraction.
This is what your teen is dealing with: worries about how their friends perceive them, worries about who likes them and whether they’ll be able to get that person’s attention, and concerns about their own academic success.
Small wonder, then, that so many teens struggle with anxiety and with depression. If your teen is struggling with mental health issues, be attentive: take the time to listen and show them you care about their feelings and take them seriously.
If your teen is having serious problems, especially anything pertaining to self-harm or eating disorders, seek professional mental health advice, such as teen anxiety treatment.
2). Encourage Them to Have Friends
We’ve talked before about encouraging socialization in your teen to help them boost self-confidence, and it’s important to understand that this is very important in your teen’s eyes as well as those of her/his peers.
While it can sometimes be hard for parents to let go and accept that their teens are going to care more about their friends (and crushes) than they are about family, it’s important to understand that this is fundamentally healthy. Your teen is becoming more independent and more their own person.
One thing you can do to help them and possibly allay some of your own concerns (any you may have) at the same time is to promote socialization in your home. Open up your house to your teen’s friends: invite them to have dinner, to come and do homework together, and to hang out on weekends.
This is a good way to promote rapport between you and your teen while supervising their socialization at the same time.
3). Encourage Them to Have Hobbies
Does your teen have a hobby, an interest they can pursue that involves mastering a skill? We’re not talking about video games – how about a sport, an activity, something they can do with their hands or with their mind?
Maybe your child could play a sport or run track. Or maybe they have creative interests: perhaps they want to be a writer, a musician, or act in plays. Whatever their interest, encourage them in it – and if they don’t yet have a hobby, try to get them involved in one.
Hobbies can provide a tremendous source of meaning for young people and for adults alike. They provide something in which one can excel, a skill one can gain, and with that mastery comes a sense of achievement and self-esteem.
At the same time, you never know what your teen’s hobby may lead to. Perhaps they will become accomplished in it someday. Even if it never goes beyond high school, it may teach them valuable life lessons that will stay with them.
4). Encourage Them to Stay Active
Staying physically active may or may not be a problem for your teen. Some teens, like some adults, are very self-motivated and engage in workouts without any prompting. Other teens, like other adults, need some prompting and encouragement.
Physical activity, like good diet, can set your teen up for a lifetime of good habits and correspondingly good health. Given the many health issues associated with obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, it’s a good idea to start your teen on the road to fitness while they are still young, when it is relatively much easier for them to get going on it than when they are older.
5). Encourage Them to Plan for the Future
Has your teen expressed an interest in a given career? As with fitness, some teens, like some adults, are very self-motivated: they know exactly what they want, and they go for it.
On the other hand, others need encouragement. While it’s not a good idea to pressure your teen into a career if they’re indecisive – they do have time to make up their minds – encourage them to think about it and try to expose them to relevant literature about different career paths.
In particular, encourage your teen to think about 1) the cost and the time investment for a given career; 2) the experience of the career itself, and 3) the rewards – wages, work-life balance. This will help them think in terms that will set them up for a good decision-making framework.
There are many challenges parents experience trying to connect with their teens – and at the same time, every teen is their own unique person. Hopefully these 5 key tips will help you as you work through the particulars of your own unique, individual relationship with your teen.
Author Bio:: Albert Cooper is a professional blogger and an SEO advisor for the last four years. He writes articles for businesses to rank his client’s site on Google. You can search his content on Google by using this keyword: ‘author Albert Cooper’. He is also a content advisor and writer for Blogs like Bkreaders.com, bittbox.com, historyandheadlines.com, peterleehc.com, ceoworld.biz, and many others. Connect with him on: facebook