The terrible twos and the adolescent years have a lot in common. Our children are doing exciting new things at both periods, but they are also testing limits and screaming tantrums.
Both age groups face the same key developmental task: children must begin to draw away from their parents and demand their own independence.
It’s no surprise that people occasionally act as though they’re the centre of the world. This makes parenting more difficult, especially when teenagers are starting to make decisions that have actual consequences, such as school, friends and driving, not to mention substance abuse and sex.
Teens, on the other hand, are still learning to control their emotions, thus they are prone to taking chances and making rash judgments. This means that maintaining a strong and trustworthy parent-child connection is more vital than ever throughout the adolescent years.
Keeping in touch isn’t simple, though. When it comes to rejecting what they perceive to be parental involvement, teenagers aren’t always gracious.
While they’re an open book to their pals, whom they communicate with frequently via text messages and social media, they may remain silent when asked how their day went by their mother.
A request that appeared acceptable to Dad may be viewed as a grave affront by someone else. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that your child is going through his horrible adolescent years.
It’s a time that will pass and your position as a parent will remain critical, just in a somewhat different form. Here are some pointers for navigating the unfamiliar territory:
At First – Listen
If you’re anxious about what’s going on in your teen’s life, sitting back and listening may be more useful than asking direct inquiries. If children do not feel obligated to share knowledge with their parents, they are more inclined to do so.
Remember that even a passing remark on anything that happened throughout the day is her way of reaching out, and if you remain open and interested but not nosy you’ll hear more.
Demonstrate your trustworthiness
Teenagers, especially their parents, want to be taken seriously. Look for methods to demonstrate your faith in your adolescence. Requesting a favour from him demonstrates your trust in him.
Volunteering a privilege demonstrates that you believe he is capable of handling it. Allowing your child to know that you believe in him will enhance his confidence and increase his likelihood of succeeding.
Confirm their sentiments
It’s our nature to strive to solve difficulties for our children or minimize their frustrations. After a love disappointment, though, stating something like “She wasn’t suited for you anyhow” might come out as contemptuous.
Instead, mirror the statement back to the youngsters to show that you understand and empathise: “Wow that does seem difficult.”
Don’t be a tyrant/dictator
You retain control over the rules, but you must be prepared to explain them. While it’s normal for teens to test the limits, hearing your detailed explanation of why parties aren’t permitted on school nights will make the restriction seem more logical.
Keep your emotions under check
When your teen is nasty, it’s easy to lose your cool, but don’t reply in kind. Remember that you are the adult, and when he is agitated, he is less able to manage his emotions or think clearly.
Before answering, count to 10 or take a few deep breaths. If you’re both too agitated to talk, then put the conversation on hold until you’ve both calmed down.
When children are younger, parents prefer to praise them more, but teenagers want the same boost in self-esteem. Teenagers may behave as if they don’t care what their parents think of them, but the fact is that they still want your approval.
Searching for opportunities to be positive and helpful, especially when the relationship is pressured, is also good for the partnership.
Collaborate on Projects
Talking isn’t the only way to interact, and it’s ideal if you can spend these years doing activities you both like, such as cooking, hiking or going to the movies, without discussing anything personal.
It’s critical for children to understand that they may be close to you and share happy experiences without fear of you interrogating them or calling them on the carpet for something.
Share Meals on a Regular Basis
Another fantastic method to stay connected as a family is to sit down and enjoy a meal together. Dinner talks allow everyone in the family to check in and have a casual conversation about sports, television or politics.
When it comes to more challenging matters, children who feel at ease talking to their parents about everyday difficulties are more likely to be open. There is only one rule: no cell phones are permitted.
Keep your eyes peeled
It’s natural for children to change as they grow older, but pay attention if you notice any changes in their mood, behaviour, activity level, or appetite. Take note if he quits wanting to do things that used to bring him joy or if you observe him withdrawing.
If you see a difference in your teen’s capacity to operate daily, ask him/her about it and show your support (without being judgmental).
They may require your assistance, and this might indicate that they need to speak with a mental health expert.
Pay close attention
Listen carefully to both what people say and what they don’t say, and utilize what you learn to improve your communication style and establish relationships.
Do they appear to be willing to share?
Is it possible that they’re avoiding a problem?
What are the questions they’re posing to you?
What themes do they seem most eager to discuss and which do they seem least eager to discuss?
What are the most common friends, hobbies, and topics that they bring up? etc…
Maintain Your Calm
Take note of which themes or sorts of inquiries elicit the strongest reactions from them (and from you). Strive not to take their tone or emotional responses personally and don’t respond in kind.
You’ll have more fruitful interactions if you can keep cool and concentrate on their message rather than their delivery. It’s better to start your assertions with “I feel” or “I wonder,” rather than “You,” which might come out as intimidating or accusatory.
Don’t be a pushover
While it’s critical to ask them the proper questions, you also don’t want to pest, nag, or force them to discuss or do whatever it is that’s on the table.
Make sure to allow them time to think about what they’re saying during the conversation. Your youngster will be less willing to share, engage or listen if a discussion feels like an interrogation or a battering ram.
Don’t pass judgment
Another crucial aspect of fostering productive interactions with your kid is to have a neutral, empathic, and honest demeanour.
When they say they failed to prepare for their math quiz or that a friend vales or stays up until two a.m. on school nights, avoid the desire to condemn or provide unwanted advice.
Yes, express your thoughts to your adolescent and make sure you’ve set clear standards, especially when it comes to your own kid’s behavior and safety.
However, you don’t have to provide every complaint or suggestion that comes to mind, especially if it isn’t relevant to the topic at hand. This does not imply that you ignore everything; rather, it implies that you respond with kindness and as an ally first.
Furthermore, if they are concerned about the consequences of your decision, they will be far less likely to share in the first place.
When they disclose a failed test, instead of reacting with rage, I told you disappointment or specific study plans, show compassion and then let them vent.
Inquire about how you can assist. Inquire about how they might improve their performance in the future. Alternatively, simply embrace them.
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