The Top 10 Strategies for Building a Positive Relationship with Your Teen
Raising a teen does not have to be the dark era of your life. The following strategies will help you to build a positive, lifelong relationship with your teenager.
One day you awaken, as if from a bad dream and don't know with whom you are living. Your sweet child, who never gave you a hard time is suddenly talking back to you and giving you looks to kill. This is called a 'Teen - ! Do you remember how hard it was to be a teen? Now, you have the opportunity to help your teen transition through the tremendous ups and downs from fluctuating hormones and the identity crisis that occurs during his or her trial and error personality development. The following strategies will assist you in developing a close, positive relationship with your teen.
1. Listen. Listen. Listen.
Your teen is constantly reaching out to tell you either through his words or through his actions how he feels about himself and his present life. Stop and take time out for your teen every day to listen to what he is and what he is not saying. When he does speak, listen without judgment. Do not give unsolicited advise. Make direct eye contact and let him know you care about what he's telling you, no matter how inane or upsetting it may be. A teen who feels listened to and not judged, will be more apt to tell you everything 'The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. At least this way, you'll know what's going on in your teen's life.
2. Set realistic guidelines, rules, and expectations for your teen.
There's a fine line between giving your teen too much leeway, and being too strict on your teen. Set realistic curfews, expectations and guidelines for your teen. If you try to overprotect and shelter your teen, she's more apt to rebel in later years. Whereas, if you set no guidelines for your teen, she will be floundering aimlessly, which may lead her to feeling frightened, abandoned and unloved. Every teen is different, and what worked for one, may not work for another. Experiment. But please make sure you acknowledge your teen when she does follow your rules and guidelines.
3. Follow through with threatened punishments.
If you threaten to take the computer, telephone, or car away from your teen if he doesn't pull up his grades or clean his room, do it. Communicate your threatened punishments clearly and specifically. For example: 'I've asked you to take out the trash several times already. So, if you don't take out the trash by 9:00 PM tonight, you lose your telephone privileges for the next three days. That means no telephone until - - - .'. Absolutely do not threaten something you know you will not follow through with. For instance, don't say: 'Take out the garbage or I never want to see your face in this house again..' Once your teen realizes that you will indeed follow through with your threats, he will have more respect for what you say and will be more apt to consistently follow your established guidelines.
4. Spend teen-quality time with your teen.
Sometimes, it's good to sacrifice a little of your own likes to spend time with your teen doing what he likes to do. For example, if you detest his Rap or Rock band, but he would give anything to go and see them in concert, that is one sacrifice you could choose to make to show him that you value him, first and foremost. I can't tell you how many movies I sat through that I absolutely detested. But, my son thought I was the greatest mother on earth for sitting there with him watching his 'Action/Jackson' hero movies.
5. Get to know and appreciate your teen's friends.
If your teen knows that you care enough about her to get to know and appreciate her friends, then she will be proud to introduce you to her friends, and she will want to include you in their conversations and activities. Yes, you may have to dig very deeply to come up with something in some of your teen's friends that you can appreciate, but eventually you'll hit pay dirt. This gives your teen the freedom to explore different friendships and choose friendships that work for her. Instead of the opposite, which would be your teen continuing a friendship just to prove you're wrong, because you didn't approve of that friend.
6. Communicate the fears, insecurities, mistakes, and triumphs you experienced as a teen.
Most teens think you were never a teen yourself, and they believe that you couldn't possibly understand what they're feeling. I know it may be hard to remember that far back, but dig it up and let your teen know what your biggest fears, dislikes, insecurities, mistakes, successes and triumphs were when you were a teen. This will bridge the generation gap between the two of you, in that your teen will realize that you're not that much different, after all. As a result, your teen will be much more open and receptive to communicating with you.
7. Be the example you want your teen to be.
Don't be a hypocrite. If you drink alcohol, the chances that your teen will drink increases. If you smoke cigarettes or marijuana, don't expect your teen not to smoke. Don't curse like a sailor and then get mad at your teen for cursing. Teens and children alike typically learn who they're going to become by modeling their parents' behavior. If you want your teen to grow up to be a physically and emotionally healthy adult, the best thing you can do is be the example of a physically and emotionally healthy adult!
8. Accept that your teen will probably make mistakes.
I can't tell you how many times, I stood in complete horror, wondering where my son's brain was at when he ran that red light, etc., etc - .. You hear many times that human beings often learn their greatest lessons by making mistakes. Since you can't over shelter your teen, and you know you want you're teen to learn to be a fully functioning adult, accept that your teen will probably make mistakes and misjudgments. That doesn't make your teen stupid, bad or wrong. It just means that your teen is learning next time 'What Not To Do !!!'
9. Be honest and don't take your day out on your teen.
We - ve all had occasion to have had what we perceived to be a terrible day. Be honest with your teen. Tell him or her you had a terrible day and that you're going to try to shift in to a better mood. If you feel you need to be alone with your emotions, tell your teen you're going to be alone to feel your emotions and ask for privacy. Be honest, and never, ever take your bad day out on your child. As a result, your teen will learn to be honest with himself and not grow up to take his emotions out on those around him.
10. Give your teen affection and acknowledgment every chance you get.
Teens need your love, acceptance, praise, and acknowledgment now more than ever before. Even if your teen acts like he or she doesn't want your attentions, give them anyhow. Even if it's just a pat on the shoulder, or a big bear hug, or your attempt to arm wrestle with him. When your teen accomplishes something, praise and appreciate him or her. Let your teen know what you really love and appreciate about him or her. Tell your teen how great he or she is. They can never hear these words or experience your attentions enough. This will assist them in developing a positive self image, as well as help you to create and maintain a positive relationship with your teen.
About the Author
Ronya Banks is a life and business coach, inspirational trainer, writer, speaker, mother, and mentor who specializes in assisting people to rid themselves of any barriers that are holding them back from living successful, fulfilling lives. She is presently a published author of several articles and is working on writing a book on achieving success through Mind Discipline.