Developing a Strong Relationship with Your Teen

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Teenagers are a challenge. They can drive you crazy, eat up all of your disposable income and bring all kinds of dramas into your home, but there’s no denying your love for them. Your child’s teenage years are when they start becoming adults, shaping who they’re going to be in the future. It’s a time you’ll want to be around for which can be difficult when your teenager is trying to push the boundaries.

Despite all the challenges, it is possible to have a strong relationship with your teenager. Take a look at some of the following tips to help you build that strong relationship that will be sure to continue long after they’ve left the tricky teen years behind them!

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How do you want the relationship to be?
First thing’s first - how do you want your relationship with your teen to be? Think back to your relationship with your own parents - is there something you would want to do differently? While nobody’s expecting you to act like a teenager yourself and suddenly become an irresponsible parent, there are things you could consider changing about you and your teen’s relationship. It’s easy to be critical and moody with your teen, but there are some behaviors that you’ll need to change if you want to develop a closer relationship.

Talk, don’t interrogate

Nobody wants to come home to an interrogation, so when you’re at home with your teen ask them how their day was, but don’t probe them with endless questions. Your teenager should want to share their feelings and ideas with you, but they might be reluctant to do so if everything is met with questions. Talk to them like you would a friend or other relative, and try to build a more natural relationship.

It also helps to talk about the things that they’re interested in. As they open up about the things they’re interested in, take an interest yourself. That way, when it comes to talking about difficult subjects like relationships and dating, they should already feel comfortable talking to you. 

Find common interests

By finding some interests that you can share with your teen, you could find common ground that will help you spend time together and give you some things that are just yours to share. From working out together to enjoying the same musician, it’s surprising what you might have in common with your teen. 

There are a lot of ways you can spend more time with your teen, so consider suggesting new things you can try that will help you bond and develop a closer relationship.

Have phone-free time

Most of us are guilty of relying on our phones and other devices too much, but it’s not too late to change these habits. By making certain times a ‘phone-free’ zone, you and your family can enjoy dinners together, TV time and more to help you connect. You’ll need to set a good example yourself, which involves learning how to stop checking your phone so much.

Get to know their friends

Your teenager will spend a lot of time with friends, both at school and outside of it. It’s good to know the people who are in your child’s life, so getting to know their friends can be an excellent example of good parenting. From simply asking about them when they call, or inviting them round to dinner, there are different ways you can find out more about the other people your teen has a relationship with.

It’s also good sense to make friends with your teen’s friends’ parents. You’ll be able to build a great relationship with them that will help you share advice, dilemmas and be there together for all of the important milestones in your teens’ lives.

Be there for them

Your teen’s problems might seem insignificant compared to ‘adult’ problems, but to them, it’s their whole world. By being there for them and listening, and putting yourself in their shoes, you can become a trusted confidante. It helps to have your teen talk to you about their problems, as it can help you keep a close eye on them in case they start showing serious changes in their behavior.

As well as being there to listen to their problems, it’s important to know when you need to step in and take action. While you’ll always want to help your teen yourself, sometimes you’ll need some outside help. Doctors can advise on teen mental health treatment, while your child’s school might be able to help with other concerns. Keep an eye on any changes in your teen’s mood, it could be an indicator of a problem that needs addressing.

Support them

Your teen will have a lot of things they want to achieve and aim for, and your support can help them get there. As a parent, you’ll want to set your teen up for success, so helping them with homework, cheering them on at events and celebrating their achievements are all important to help them succeed.

Have fun

Spending more time with your teenager will give you the chance to relax and unwind. This can be a welcome break from the stresses of work or family life. Why not make a regular date with your teen to go to dinner, see a movie or go shopping? While it’s important to be a good parent, you can be a fun parent to your teen as well. You’ll be grateful for all the amazing memories when your teen heads off to college.

Being close to your teen will enable you to identify any problems, help them with their mental health and support them into adulthood. Start working on your relationship with your teen to help you make the most of these special years.


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