It is common for children to pull away from their parents during the teenage years. Adolescence is a time when teens experience rapid physical, mental and emotional development. It is also a time when their social circle widens and they begin to develop a keen interest in relationships with their peers. This is largely the result of a natural desire to forge their own identity and assert their independence. Unfortunately, this can cause some teens and parents to grow apart. However, with patience, determination, and some tried and true relationship-building exercises, you can maintain a strong, close and loving relationship with your child.
Use effective language when communicating
Communication is crucial for relationship building. Engage in meaningful conversation with your teenage child. Talk openly and often. Be a good listener. Make it clear to your child that you want to hear what she has to say. Create an atmosphere where your teen can feel comfortable expressing herself honestly. When speaking with your teen, use supportive language and refrain from coming across as being judgmental.
Get to know your teen
It is extremely important to stay connected with your teen, both physically and emotionally. Get to know your child as a teenager. The young person your teenager has evolved into is not necessarily the child you perceive him to be. Find out what is important to him and let him know you care about those things as well. Spend time with him. In order to build a strong relationship with a person – even if that person is your own child – you need to know who that person is, what his life is like and what he is all about.
Show interest in your teen
Letting your teen know you are interested in her life will help the two of you to develop a strong bond. Cheer for your child at events. Bring flowers to her recitals. Tell her how proud you are of her accomplishments. Get to know her friends. Monitor her whereabouts. Ask her about her favourite songs and bands. Become a part of her virtual life as well as her real life by joining her social networks. Be involved without being intrusive.
Spend time with your teen
Shared experiences deepen bonds between parents and teens. Make a point of spending quality time with your child doing things you both enjoy. Shopping, attending concerts and sporting events, or even hanging out at the beach or a park can give the two of you precious time to slow down, talk, reconnect and appreciate each other’s company. Invite your child to participate in activities that are important to you. Graciously reciprocate when your child asks you to take part in his interests.
Set goals with your teen
Use pinterest or an actual pin board. Together add pictures of things you want individually and as a family ie: a holiday destination, swimming pool, harmonious household or career ideas. Add notes showing why these things are important to you. Talk about what you all need to do to attain these things, then create a chain of actions that will lead you all there. You can also add motivational notes and reminders about teamwork. Visualizing your goals will keep you united and present in each other’s minds as well as giving you all a sense of what you are working towards.
Set an example – Put it in writing
Write a letter to one another, note the things that you love about each other. Add some of your fond memories and your desire to want the best for your child/parent. Encourage your teen to write a letter to herself to open in a month, year or even decade. She can write about all of the things she’d like to accomplish in a certain timeframe and how she plans to get there. Put the letter away, then give it back when the deadline arrives.
Teach your teen how to budget/save money
Help your teen understand the importance of financial goals. Show him how to write a budget and stick to it. Encourage him to choose an item he wants, such as new shoes or a new gaming console. Then work together to figure out how much money he’ll have to set aside each week to save for the item, how long it could take and what he’ll have to sacrifice to reduce the wait time. Once he’s comfortable with short-term planning, help him figure out long-term goals ie: saving for college, a car or his first apartment. Talk about other financial topics too, such as savings accounts and investing so he can learn how to use his money wisely to accomplish large goals, like owning a home or starting a business. This way he will learn to appreciate the value of money plus appreciate your hard work and effort to provide for the family.
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