Cell phones, laptops...today’s teens seem to have it all! But in reality, even though our environment has changed over the years, relationship dynamics haven’t. Even in the 21st century, a baby, child, or even teenager needs the same amount of care and support as they always have, but for some reason parents tend to think their parenting needs to somehow mould into today’s PC society.
How many parents are guilty of creating a Facebook account not to actually use it but take advantage of the opportunity to see what their kids are up to? Don’t get me wrong – there are situations when parents want to know what their kids are up to if they’re living on the other side of the world, but when youth are in their teen years, they just want to be left alone. Remember yourself – didn’t you want the world to leave you alone when you were that age?
Sure, today’s technology has given parents more ways of protecting their kids from harm, but there’s a fine line between spying and protecting, so going back to some good old fashioned tips of building a solid relationship with your kids, here’s some advice and proven methods to refer to when you’re just not sure what to do...
You Shut Up
Everyone loves to be heard.
Next time you’re talking to your teen, or even if there is an argument or misunderstanding, no matter how badly you want to speak over them, yell, scream or add your 2 cents worth, take a breath and hear them out first. One of the following things may happen:
a) You may hear a story that’ll change your mind about what you were about to say
b) They may blurt out some silly heat-of-the moment comment that you can share at dinner tonight
c) You would have prepared your teen to let them listen to you, by psychologically respecting their right to speak. This means they will subconsciously make a note of this, so when they’ve finished, they will be more inclined to listen to you without interruption.
Be the Parent – Communicate your Values in full
Of course, no one can hold their kids’ hands for the rest of their lives, but you can teach them make rational choices, especially as they enter into the teen years...
Every adult is likely to have been on both ends of this scenario which didn’t leave anyone happy:
“Mum, Dad can I go to that party tonight?”
“Because we said so”
The moral is: next time you have an opinion or make a decision, explain and back these up with reasons behind it to your teen! Humans are curious by nature, and youth aren’t exempt from it, so feed this curiosity – voice your reasons.
This not only provides solid ground for your point, but when done enough times will instil those decision-making skills in your teen, so next time they make a decision, they’ll have an automatic reaction to question it and think “Is this a good enough reason/choice for my actions?”
Trust and give MORE responsibility
Next time there is an opportunity to give your teen a responsibility, from cooking dinner for the family to leaving them the house for the night while you’re out, give it to them! Nothing does it for youth quite like having ownership over a situation, and you may find yourself surprised at how much they rise to the challenge of a responsibility. Explain what’s expected of them, and leave the rest to trust. Trust CAN be a scary thing, but hey, everyone makes mistakes and if that happens to be the case, rinse and repeat – as long as your teen knows where you stand, what’s expected of them, and have your support to try better next time, that’s a winning combination!