Let’s welcome Courtney Gwinn back today who is talking to parents on how to build a relationship with your teen. Courtney is one of our teen contributors who shares “get real talk” to parents and adults in an effort to help parents understand what our teen generation is feeling, doing and how they relate because sometimes we parents just don’t get it. Welcome back Courtney. We love you here!
10 Ways to Build a Relationship with Your Teen
by Dedicated 2 Life Contributor Courtney Gwinn
Creating a bond with a teenager can be especially hard but me and my mother figured it out, and here is how we did it.
* You cant pry. If you give them some space, they will come to you if they need you. Nothing makes us not want to tell you something other than you pushing and prying to force us to tell you.
* Also, give us some privacy. Speaking from personal experience, if you don’t force us to tell you everything, it lets us feel like we are in control, a little bit, of what we do or don’t tell you. And there are definitely exceptions like if you suspect something dangerous or inappropriate going on, you’re the parent, they are the child.
* Put aside time to do things just the two of you. Whatever it is you both enjoy. And if you don’t know what your common interest is, start doing anything you can think of to find it. Spending time together can be as simple as a movie or even a car ride together, singing (like my mother and I), or talking or whatever. It’s not so much about what you do as it is just the mere fact you are together. I would recommend maybe once or twice a week but not all the time because then you can pass the line into getting sick of each other.
* Figure out any issues you have, and nip them in the butt. Whether it is a resentment due to divorce or maybe even demanding above and beyond in everything they do. You may not even realize their is a problem. Fortunately, my mom and I did not have to see a therapist, but if you cant figure it out on your own a therapist could be sufficiently helpful for the both of you.
* And that brings me to this very, very important point. Do not force your kid to see a therapist. My mom tried this but when she realized that I would be very resentful to the experience and her and I would not fully open up in a session, we decided on doing it ourselves. But forcing a child into therapy will make them feel like their feelings are out of control, as are they. If you both decide that is what is best, go for it head first. But don’t force them, it wont do any help.
* Take time to talk to us. Figure out each others likes and dislikes. This can give you things to take about.
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* Never, ever put us down. Self confidence is hard enough to get without your own mother adding to the difficulty. Even if you think you are helping with things like, “there is so much fat in that” or, “you’re really going to eat that?”, you’re not. There is no possible lower feeling than believing that your own mother doesn’t find you beautiful.
* Try to not treat us like babies or adults. We are old enough to do things on our own but you cant expect us to go head first into the adult world. We may act like it, but the fact is that we are not adults.
* Talk to us everyday. Simple things like, “how is your day going?” can mean the world.
* Sometimes something as simple as our favorite kind of candy on a bad day can make us absolutely, completely happy.
Every child is going to be completely and utterly different. So creating a bond with your kid will no be so clean cut. You will have to experiment and feel out the waters. See what works specifically for the two of you. Good luck.