Teenagers’ lives are often a closed book to us and however hard we might try we simply cannot get them to open this book and read what is inside. But how are we going to keep our children safe and guide them into becoming self-sufficient and self-confident adults if we are not sure what they are doing, where they are, who they are seeing, what they think and how they feel?
Well, here are four tips that might help to open that book just enough to get a glimpse inside.
Tip 1 – Start when your children are young. It is a lot simpler to keep a relationship rolling along than it is to set it in motion in the first place and this is particularly true with kids. If we start from the day they are born and build a strong and close relationship then life will be fairly easy when they reach those difficult teenage years. However, if we keep our distance, or simply do not have time to get close to them when they are young, then it will become increasingly difficult to do so as they get older.
Tip 2 – Look for common ground. All of us have things which we enjoy doing by ourselves but it is also important for partners to share interests and to have some things, such as cooking, tennis or hiking which they enjoy doing together. This is not simply the case with partners however and should also extend to parents and their children. Accordingly, look for something, and ideally several things, that you and your children can enjoy doing together as a family and that will provide you with a common interest to talk about.
Tip 3 – Listen to what your children say and keep an open mind. During their teenage years children often form opinions very quickly and often without a sufficient understanding of the subject to hand. This in turn means that they will often come out with comments that you find concerning or which you neither like nor agree with. Take the time however to listen to what they are saying and try not to judge them too quickly or harshly. It is of course to tell them that do not agree with them or do not approve of something as long as you go on to explain why and do not turn what you are saying so that becomes an attack on them.
Tip 4 – Spend time with your children. One of the key concerns for a lot of teenagers is that they cannot spend sufficient time with their parents and this is frequently viewed as a case of their parents not caring enough about how they are feeling or what they are doing. One significant result of this is that teenagers also often feel unable to talk to their parents when they have a problem and need some help.
Many of us lead busy lives but if we were talking about a client at work instead of our own kid you can bet your bottom dollar that we would make the time necessary to spend with that client. Well, our children are far more important than any client and so it should not really be too hard to set aside some time every day, or at the very least every week, to devote ourselves solely to our children for a while.
There are lots of ways to make sure that we spend enough time with our kids and often it is simply a case of organizing ourselves better. One easy way to achieve our objective is to ensure that the whole family sits down to an evening meal and that this is a time for everyone both eat and talk. Another good way of spending time with your teens is to drive them to school each morning rather than letting them ride the bus. Yet another suggestion is to play sport as a family once or twice a week. There are countless ways to make time for your teenagers if you put your mind to it.
Parenting is never easy and this is particularly true when it comes to providing help for troubled teens but always remember that millions of parents are already been down this road and will be only too willing to give you some parenting tips if you just ask for it.