Teens are notorious for being moody and testing mom's and dad’s patience. It’s tough to find the right balance between letting them go and discovering things for themselves, and protecting them from the world they think they’re able to handle.
It can be doubly difficult to maintain a relationship with your teen if their childhood has been full of insecurities.
So, how can we parents encourage a healthy relationship with our teen?
What to expect in the teen years
Even though teens become increasingly independent, it is still imperative that parents remain their teen’s emotional and moral compass. For teens to make the transition from dependence to independence and build successful relationships outside the family, they still rely on the solid, intimate relationships at home. (1)
It is becoming more common in our culture to allow teens to transfer their dependency from their family to others outside the family, which can have disastrous results.
Teens crave closeness and often sacrifice too much of themselves to find that connection with someone. The problem is that other teens and other adults may not able to give them the connection that they’re searching for. (1)
It’s also considered normal for teens to start pushing parents away. However, Dr. Laura Markham warns that pushing parents way is not a sign of healthy emotional development, and parents should not let a teen do so. It is actually a sign of a damaged relationship. (1)
Keys to open lines of communication with your teen
Key #1 – Be understanding:
Even if you don’t fully agree or quite comprehend what your teen is talking about, try to start all interactions with understanding. This means, imagining yourself in your teen’s shoes before explaining or suggesting changes to the situation or to how she’s handling it.
If your teen feels like she has to defend herself, she will not be open to hearing what you have to say.
Key #2 – Keep emotions out of interactions: