What Are Some Tips for Parents for Building a Good Relationship with Teens?
There are many ways to improve the relationship between us and our teens.
Keep in Touch. We should touch base with our teens regularly, even when everything is going smoothly. We can let our teens know what’s going on in our lives and find out what they are up to. Keeping in touch regularly with our teens is one of the most important things we can do as parents. Teens feel their parents care about them when we take an interest in what’s happening in their lives. Teens — like all people — don’t want to feel ignored.
Spend Time Together. Families are very busy these days. Between jobs, chores, and other things, there often is little time left over for enjoying each other’s company. We need to grab whatever time we can to be with our teens. It will help us occupy some of our teen’s free time, and we will get to know our teens better. It will help us build good relationships, and let our teens know we care. One mother, for example, plays basketball with her teen even though she is terrible at it. Whatever it takes — even if it’s just once a week. Or if it’s just a drive to the store together. Your teen will notice if you make time.
Keep Promises. If we make promises to our teens, we must keep them if at all possible. When we are unable to keep our promises because of something that we can’t do anything about, we need to talk with our teens about it. We need to tell them that we are sorry. Our teens need to know they can count on us to keep our word. This is an important part of gaining trust and respect. If we keep our word, they are much more likely to keep theirs.
Treat Our Teens Like Teens. Although our teens are not yet adults, they are no longer children and should not be treated like them. We mustn’t talk down to our teens. We must be honest with them. Statements like, “You’re too young to know about that” are disrespectful of a teen’s ability to understand.
Be Thoughtful. Remember special days. It doesn’t have to be marked with a gift or special activity. We just have to let our teens know we’ve remembered. Every now and then, we can give our teens special little surprises. We might leave a note on our teens’ beds expressing how much we care for them. Or we might make our teens’ favorite meals — just because.
Recognize Special Efforts. We mustn’t take our teens for granted. We need to praise their special efforts, such as doing well on a test, practicing hard for a game or performance, or being particularly kind to someone.
Tell Them We Care. We love our children, but how often do we take the time to tell them? We need to tell our teens how much we care about them, every day. We should make it a habit!
Be Supportive. When our teens have bad days, we can offer a shoulder to lean on. Even though our teens want to be grown up, they still need our support. We need to listen to them sympathetically.
Avoid Hurtful Teasing. Sometimes we tease in a way that puts a person down. We can avoid teasing our children this way — especially in front of others. It really hurts.
Use Humor and Lighten Up. We can use humor with our teens, and be willing to poke fun at ourselves at times. Joking around encourages a positive relationship.
Appreciate Our Teens’ Special Strengths. We must accept our teens for who they are. Statements like, “Why can’t you be more like your older brother?” or “Your sister never gave me this much trouble” don’t help a teen do better. Such comments only make a teen feel bad. Every teen has special strengths. We must recognize these strengths and let our teens know it.
Involve Our Teens in Setting Boundaries and Making Rules. As parents we must help our kids set boundaries and live with rules. But we can give them an active role in deciding what those boundaries and rules are.
Be Real With Our Teens. By communicating openly and often with our teens, they will be able to relate to us as people who are truly concerned about their well-being. We also need to be courteous. Simple courtesies, such as saying “please” and “thank you,” and helping out in small ways go a long way to show how much we care. Basic good manners show caring and respect. And if we give respect, we get it back.