First published: 14 November 2022 @ 6:00 pm
Teenagers’ relationships with parents can be rocky and downright hostile at worst. Teenage brain development is not yet fully completed, which means teenagers don’t have the same levels of insight or clarity as adults.
Hormonal changes, academic pressures, and other social pressures can lead teens to have unrealistic expectations about what parents can provide for them.
On the other hand, parents might be unable to find a balance between the roles of disciplinarian and educator, which can cause a parent-teen disconnect.
That’s why it’s important to address any issues as they arise and establish a healthy dialogue between you and your teenager.
Here are some things you can say to your teenager to help bridge the communication gap:
1. I Love You
Adolescent development can be a bumpy ride, and teenagers might not be fully equipped to handle their feelings or have the same level of understanding as adults. However, it’s important for teens to hear that their parents love them.
When you say that you love them, you’re showing them you value them as an individual. It’s also a message that your love is unconditional.
2. I’m Sorry
Emotional responses during a fight or disagreement can make teenagers feel as though they’re the one who did something wrong.
However, it’s important to let your teen know that you’re sorry for how things turned out and that you understand how difficult it can be to express emotions.
You can say something like, “I’m sorry I yelled at you. It was a hard day for me and I didn’t mean to upset you.”
Recognizing that you, too, have a fault in the situation is a good way to get your teen to trust you.
Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.
3. How Can I Help You?
Peer pressures can make teenagers feel like they’re the only ones experiencing difficulty in a relationship. You can reassure them you’re there for them when they need to talk or seek help.
By offering help in a non-judgmental way, you can show your desire to be there for your teen. You can also give them advice about how to handle their situation, or help them find resources if they need them.
However, if they don’t want your help, don’t push it. Remember that teens are self-reliant, and you shouldn’t take away their autonomy by telling them what to do.
4. Thank You for Telling Me
Once you get your teenagers to trust you, you can take it one step further by thanking them for sharing their feelings with you.
By expressing your gratitude, you’re showing that you’re not only listening to what they have to say, but that you respect and appreciate them as an individual.
5. I Understand How Hard It Is for You
Acknowledging their negative feelings will give your teenager the opportunity to vent, which is a good way for them to release tension.
It’s important to let them know you understand how hard things are for them, and that you don’t have all the answers.
You can acknowledge their emotions by saying something like, “I can see how hard this is for you. I know it’s been a tough day.”
Sometimes your teenagers don’t need your help. They just need to vent, and you can encourage them to do so by acknowledging their feelings.
Photo by Elina Fairytale on Pexels.
Showing That You Care
As you can see, being a good parent is more than just knowing how to deal with the things your teenager is going through. It’s also about knowing when and how to talk to them about those things.
You can help your teenager by showing that you care about them as an individual, by letting them know that you’re there for them, and by helping them when they need it.
Your child will feel more connected to you when they trust you love them unconditionally, listen to their problems without making assumptions, and are there for them when they need it.
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