Our children need our love and support throughout their whole lives. The support that we give them does change throughout the years and, learning how to support our kids in their teenage years can be challenging. From changing their nappies to helping feed them and helping them with their homework. As they start to grow up and become independent, the support we give them continues to change. As your child enters the teenage years, things start to change a lot. There can be mood swings, withdrawals, and them not wanting to talk to you. The teenage years can be stressful for everyone as these changes come through. But how do you support and communicate with your teenagers? There are ways to be there for your teen and show your support to them without it being difficult.
Let them know you are there
The first thing you need to do is sit down with your teen and let them know that you are there. They may not want to hear it. Or want to have a full conversation with you. But letting them know that you are there, in case they ever do want to talk is the most important thing.
By telling them this, they will feel loved, supported, and secure. Knowing that you are there when and if they need it.
Give the praise
You don’t need to go out and do a big celebration for every little thing. But simply telling them that you are proud of them, that they have done a good job, or that they are doing great will help them a lot. It gives a sense of pride and happiness to them.
Praise doesn’t need to be a big thing. A text message. A quick conversation as they run to their room. Anything just to let them know.
Ask them what they need
Rather than just assuming because you are the parent that you know what’s best. Ask your teen what you can do to help them. Is there something you can change at home to make life easier for them? Is there something you can purchase with them to make schooling easier?
If you are asking them what they need, it helps them to see that they are their own person and can make their own decisions. It gives them a sense of independence and strength.
Listen more than you speak
Keeping the lines of communication open with your teen is important. There are a lot of changes that happen during their teenage years and at times they won’t want to talk about it. And chances are that they don’t want to listen to you talk about your experiences.
But being there and listening more than you talk, can make a big difference. And not just for the serious conversations. If you are listening and taking in what they are saying about their everyday life it shows that you are interested and care about what is happening. They are more likely to come to you about the more serious things if they trust that you actually care and pay attention to their everyday conversations.
And most importantly, respect your teenager. They are going through a lot of changes. Figuring out who they are and what they want to do with their lives. If they come to you with a decision that you don’t quite agree with or have hesitations about, don’t belittle them or their decision. Respect them and let them know that you support their decision.
If you are supporting them and offer help, they are more likely to talk to you about more things and ask for your input and opinion.
Respect goes both ways. Showing your teen respect will likely result in them doing the same thing and showing you respect. When there is a parent, child relationship that is built on trust and respect it is stronger and the lines of communication open up a lot more.
And even if they don’t want to hear it, tell them you love them. A simple, I love you as they run out the door to school or a text message throughout the day.
It shows you are there for them, love them and support them.
It is the little things that can make a huge difference.