Parents and adolescence: tips for a healthy and harmonious relationship
Adolescence is a quite difficult and demanding period in a child’s life, that usually unbalances the relationships between the family members. It is no coincidence that teenage years are often described as reluctant, rebellious and confrontational. As teenagers gradually grow up, they consequently cease to be the children they once were in the past few years. They become autonomous and often appear to be -in the eyes of their parents- abrupt, distant and cruel, yet they are just trying to discover and form their own personality and thoughts. At this point, parents become observers of a series of changes. They usually feel like they are losing control, sometimes they are unable to understand and accept the new circumstances, or they worry and have insecurities in the face of this change, thus feeling angry. However, “mistakes” tend to increase the distance and shatter communication bridges, while on the other hand the secret that leads to a healthy and harmonious relationship between parents and teenagers lies in communication.
Dealing with adolescence: tips for parents
It is perfectly normal -and often necessary- for relationships to be tested, in order to thrive on a new balance. Through testing and change, relationships become stronger and better· they get more meaningful and resilient over the years. Thus, do not be afraid to support a different role. No matter how you feel, teenagers must grow up by making breakthroughs. It is absolutely normal, and you ought to accept it. Embrace your feelings, adjust your behavior and avoid taking things personally. Your goal is to provide a stable and supportive environment for them.
What you should do:
If your children consistently avoid conversations with you, wonder about your attitude. Is it possible that you act nervously or critically? If so, change your approach and always speak to them in a calm manner.
Show respect for their tendency to isolate. Do not systematically interrupt the time they spend alone. Teenagers need time and space for themselves.
Always be available, even if you feel like it is the most inappropriate time.
Keep in touch daily, even with just a simple phone call. Even though teenagers often seem to seek no communication with you, it is crucial for them to feel that you care.
Avoid asking too many questions or intrusive ones that suggest “interrogation”.
Do not hesitate to talk about your feelings. Be the first to set an example of honest communication. In this way, you may give them the opportunity to express themselves and “open up”.
Show consideration about their interests, support their choices, help them discover and develop their talents and inclinations.
When communicating with teenagers, it is your responsibility to keep the conversation within the bounds of decency. You can -and ought to- put yourself in their shoes, not the opposite. Do not lose control. If necessary, come up with an excuse and kindly interrupt the conversation. In any case, show considerable restraint. In addition, if you have objections about your children’s choices or behavior, emphasize that you are not rejecting them, yet you are not siding with their way of thinking, at least as far as the certain topic of discussion is concerned.
When to become worried
Teenage behavior is often erratic and strange. Tantrums, outbreaks and isolation are just a few of the most common (and actually normal) behaviors. In general, you should get alarmed if you notice:
Extremely bad mood or intense anger that last for several days
Excessive use of technology leading to burnout or loss of sleep
Social withdrawal and constant isolation
Refusal to attend school or participate in activities
Violent, frequent outbursts, with no apparent cause
Aggression towards others or even themselves
In all cases, arm yourself with patience, show respect and empathy to become their companion. When adolescence comes to an end, your relationship will have been “transformed”!