When your child becomes a teenager there’s no doubt that things will change. The dynamic of the family home will be different and you’ll have to learn how to parent all over again. It’s very hard for parents to get used but it’s equally hard for the teenagers who have a whole new range of emotions and feelings to handle. There will be fights and disagreements but if you keep our tips in mind it may go smoother than you thought.
Accept the Change
The first thing you need to do is accept that things are different now. Your teenager simply won’t want to spend all their time of you and it’s natural for them to become more withdrawn. Obviously, you can always try and engage with them but if they aren’t responsive don’t be too down.
Keep them included
Chances are your teenager is more interested in their laptop or Xbox than the family but that doesn’t mean you don’t keep them involved. Continue to invite them to all days out and make sure they’re down for dinner times and although they may decline, you should still keep asking.
Limit the Threats
It’s very easy to fall into the pattern of threatening your teenager with anything to get them to respond. Threatening to keep them in, take away their Xbox or stop their friends coming over will only make the situation worse or make them more apathetic. It won’t be long before you’re hearing “go ahead and sell my Xbox for all I care” – not that they’ll mean it of course! Instead, try negotiating and discussing where you can and if they don’t want to, don’t force them.
Find Common Interests
Teenagers believe they are already adults and want to be treated so. Of course, this isn’t always possible but in some ways it is. It’s likely they’ll have outgrown many of the activities you used to enjoy together so you’ll need to work together to build new interests. You could go to a sports club with them or join them at gigs – it’ll be 100% personal to your child and something they’re comfortable doing with you. Getting out of the house with your teen gives them a chance to let off steam and may start conversations and discussions which wouldn’t be possible in the confines of the family home.
Ask Open Questions
It’s a classic teen trait – the one-word answer. To stop this becoming your life, modify the way you talk. Ask questions which require more than one word as an answer such as ‘Why did you enjoy the party last night?” and “What did you do at school today?” this way they’ll be more likely to enter into the proper conversation for you. Once they start it might be hard to shut them up which is exactly what you wanted!
Understanding and communication are essential for keeping your teenager on the side. It’s not an easy time but it’s only 7 years out of their long life and the chances are they’ll come out of the other end relatively unscathed!