Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Parenting For Teens - 10 Tips to Keep in Touch

Parenting for teens is a topic I think every parent should study before their kids are 1 year old. The foundation for good parenting begins from the moment the little cherub comes home from the hospital. But since that rarely happens here are some tips to keep in touch with your teen when they would rather be in touch with everyone else in their world.
  • Try taking your teenager along with you on your Saturday errand run. The car is a great place to talk! Be sure to leave the younger ones at home so you can spend time alone with your teen. Most teens want the feeling of of significance this one on one time creates. Share a coke before you return home.
  • If you can make it work schedule wise try driving your teen to school in the morning rather than take the bus. In our house mornings were a stressful time trying to get to school on time until we started preparing for morning the night before. We set the table for breakfast, decided what we would wear the next day and ended the day with a reminder that we would all wake up cheerful the next day. This simple act made mornings much more relaxed and enjoyable for all of us.
  • If your teen is bedtime talker make time in your schedule to talk before they go to bed. It's a time to tie up loose ends from the day, share pains and joys. Some of our most amazing conversations about boyfriends or girlfriends happened just before they went to bed. However, that meant we had to give up watching the news or CSI but it was a small price to pay for the relational dividends we got in return.
  • Go shopping! My wife and daughter connected during time spent shopping together, much of it window shopping. Sometimes they bought something but most of the time they just wandered through the malls. The conversations they had at those times created connections that still carry on now that she is married and has a family of her own.
  • Spend time away with your kids. Once a year my son and I attended a football or hockey game and my wife and daughter spent a weekend at a hotel. It cost us some money but we considered it an investment into our teens. It was great connecting time.
  • Share meals together. We established a rule early in their lives that meal times together was one of most important events of the day. Though my schedule was very busy I made it a point to be at home meals and we expected them to arrange their schedule to make that happen as well. Things changed when they got part time jobs but we could still make breakfast family time connecting time. Now that they are both married they still like to come home for Christmas brunch or breakfast.
  • Remember that very teen is truly different, as is every parent. The best way for you to find out what's going on in inside your teen is to listen and watch without judgment. This can be a challenge especially when they present you with ideas that are diametrically opposed to what you have teaching them. You'll begin to see the picture coming into focus as you pick up clues about what's going on in the lives of your kids.
  • During the teen years, it's the teens' job to pull away and our job to let them. Remember what it was like when you were a teen, trying to pull away from your parents controls. Start giving them more freedom to make decisions and let them face the consequences of their choices. Commend them when they do well but don't rescue them when they fail. This will help to help build trust and respect which are essential for good family connections.
  • Try communicating with your teen via email over issues that are hard to discuss in person. An example would be the conflicts that occur in many homes over the issue of keeping their room clean. By taking the time to write you give yourself time and space to think through your responses and reflect upon the reply you get back.
  • Lectures are not very effective for improving your connection to your teenager. When it comes to your kids as teenagers, you need to realize that most of what you have to lecture them about they've heard from you before, in earlier lectures. When they show signs of not listening it is best to stop, cut your losses and discuss the matter at another time.

No comments:

Post a Comment