There’s been plenty of books, blogs, and webinars about how adults, specifically parents, can better connect with teenagers. The fact is that what used to work for parents probably won’t work now when it comes to parenting teenagers.
Teenagers are generally children who reached 13 years old, and they are considered a teenager until they reach the age of 19. When they are considered teenagers, parenting teenagers can be difficult since they will start having their own opinions and you’re just the lame “mom” or “dad” to them, and all your advice doesn’t matter to them. But that isn’t the case if you and your teen communicate properly.
Generationally, teenager’s attitudes and perceptions of adults evolve. So the strategies that worked 30 years ago with us, probably won’t work when it comes to connecting with your teenagers. So what to do then? Just try and wing it? Well, sort of, but try and keep these strategies in mind when you feel lost in what to do – which will definitely happen sometimes!
It’s well known that each generation of teenagers has a unique vernacular, and there are confusing subsets within it also. Learning what teenagers mean when they use certain words can be extremely beneficial as a parent. It will let you understand your teenager’s mindset and mood without constantly and annoyingly probing them to understand “what they mean?” Knowing their words will help you decode their world, but a word of warning – don’t start using these words yourself to try to be the ‘cool mom/dad’. Keep it as a discreet secret tool.
Mutual Interest Connections
When it comes to parenting teenagers, you should find common interests that you and your child and bond with. Without probing too much, find out what your teenager is interested in. If there’s some cross-generational connection you can make, it may open up more fulfilling avenues of communication with your teen. Contrary to popular belief, teenagers are not solely living impulsively in the present and many do have a genuine interest about the past. If they love music, don’t assume they’ll automatically hate what you listen to. Sports are a good area also. Chances are they support the same teams as you, and talking about great games of the past will get them wanting to inquire further.
The Big Picture
Today’s teenagers are hyper-aware of issues facing them and their world. Social media and their own multi-literacies contribute to this. So, generally speaking, they can be quite ‘global’ in their thinking about issues. Sure they have selfish streaks and you may be shocked to hear about them having a global mindset, but there has been a distinct mindset shift in teens to think outside of their local radius.
Parenting teenagers also involves you understanding their view of the world. As a flow-on effect of this, teens will be quite open to talking about the big picture and the future. Ask them what they think will happen, where things will trend and go. You’ll be surprised, even enlightened as to how much they think ahead, rather than look behind.
Show your interest in them
An old adage used to be that teenagers wanted to be left alone. But parents shouldn’t confuse a teenager’s ideas and views of independence and wanting to learn with being so hands-off that it borders on neglect. There’s a delicate
balance you need to strike with your teenager, and it might vary from their brother and sister too! When parenting teenagers, find out how much they want to involve you in their hobbies and interests and try to avoid coming across as too nosy. When you find that perfect balance, your relationship with your teenagers will flourish.
For many teens, there is a healthy curiosity as to why things are the way they are? So, if you can be transparent with them at home, it goes a long way into building a trusting relationship with them. Explain any cultural or traditional practices you may have. If you do something different from their friends’ families, they’ll want to know why. It could even be as simple as why you insist on them eating a certain healthy diet, or maintain a set of chores, or how much allowance they get. Explaining your reasoning and then listening to their feedback is great for building trust and giving them a sense of ownership too.
Parenting Teenagers can be hard, but if you understand their position, communicate with them, and treat them as friends, while holding authority over them can help ease you when parenting teenagers.
Family Author at Housholdhealthy.com
Based in Dallas, TX
I’m happily married with 4 kids, living life in Texas. My favorite food store would obviously be Sam’s Club with a big family like mine! I would say I’m a family-oriented individual and my goal on Household Healthy is to share awesome family activities and advice with other families.
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