Connecting with our teens

Connecting with our teens
Image source: Pixabay

Hey there, thanks for spending a moment here.

We are looking at teens for the next few weeks, that said, these tips are useful for any age. If you’re looking for ways to improve your relationship with your tween or teen, think about the way you’re communicating with them.

Try showing them love, compassion, respect, and understanding and see how they respond. Often it’s not that we have difficult kids but that they don’t know how to express what’s going on for them.

As adults what we need to understand is their very DNA is fighting to pull away from us to identify with their peer group (it’s how we have survived as a species, without it we would still have live at home) This is hard for them, although they are desperate to belong to the new group too. We need to keep that connection. They still need us. They need to feel seen and acknowledged.

The stronger the connection the more likely they are to turn to us when times are tough for them or when they have big decisions to make.

We also have to be aware that when teens are being “difficult” it is their way of trying to connect. Rather than think “Attention seeking” think “Connection seeking” As parents, it is easy to slip into wanting to control them. The more we try to connect, the more open they will be with us.

I have been a therapist for over 20 years to kids and teens, and one thing I know for sure is that communication and connection is everything! They are major building blocks to strengthening their resilience.

When kids are younger I recommend the magic 10 mins (drop me an email and happy to send through if you want a copy) For teens think of the kind of things you could do to keep that connection, a few examples:

  • Create a regular time to go out just the two of you, maybe shopping, milkshake or the cinema
  • Chat in the car (easier when not face to face)
  • Take the dog for a walk or just yourselves for same reason as above
  • Make sure you connect over dinner (research states 4 times a week leads to happier and less anxious teens)
  • Text pics of your pets to start a conversation (works really well with those at University)

Use these statements to start or open up the conversation with your teen, building trust and boosting their self-confidence at the same time.

  • It’s ok for us to disagree
  • It’s ok to mess up, none of us are perfect
  • How you feel, is important to me
  • You are allowed to say no
  • I think you are awesome/great/fab etc.
  • I’m proud of you #justsayin

Hope these tips have been useful, have a good week, and as always