Being a parent is an amazing journey that begins right when you hold your bundle of joy in your arms for the first time. The journey gets rewarding over time, as your little one goes through milestones such as the first word, the first step, and the first day at school, and so on. And then comes the most challenging phase for the parent and the children, when the latter step into their teenage years. Your child suddenly becomes withdrawn and everything you say seems just wrong to them. Tantrums become a way of life and friends are more important than everyone else. This is the time when you need to handle things with patience because resentment will just make things worse between the two of you. The best thing to do is to break into their personal space and get closer to them. But this too needs to be done with tact and empathy because teenagers tend to take even small gestures as red flags. Although your kid is not so small anymore, you still need to protect them from certain things on the internet. Why not look into how to stop ISPs tracking your children. It will still be useful to know all this. Here are some things that you can do to try and get closer to your teenage child:
- Give them space and respect their boundaries
Youngsters have a clear definition about their own boundaries and you should respect these boundaries. Yes, giving them the right level of autonomy is a challenge but you need to define some rules for the child. Be assertive without being dominating. For example, you can allow outings with friends but stick to a time limit for returning home. They may not follow the rules once in a while but giving them second chances may just be the right way to close the rift.
2.Be a good friend but don’t forget that you are a parent
Parenting is a balance game as you need to be a good friend for your young child, yet remember that you are a parent too. Have open discussions regarding topics such as bullying, drug abuse, sex and choice of friends. Build such an understanding with the teenager that he or she does not hesitate about coming up and talking with you about any single issue. At the same time, make it clear that you are the parent and have the right to make decisions for them if there is need.
- Keep an eye on them
As a parent, you need to keep a close eye on their activities and the kind of people they interact with. Ask them to invite friends home so that they feel good about it and you can also know their friends better. Check their online behaviors too as the rising cyber crimes are putting teenaged children at risk. Talk to them about the risks related to cyberbullying and online dating to help your teens stay safe from being exploited.
- Spend quality time with them
One of the main causes of parents becoming distanced from their children is that they fail to spend time with them. Making efforts to spend quality time with the child can bring you closer to him or her. Plan weekend trips with the family or go out for a dinner or a movie. Get the family together for dinner every night and encourage everyone to join a small conversation. Spending time with your child should be your first priority, even if something else has to be overlooked.
- Encourage them with rewards
Teenagers struggle with self-confidence even if they do not show it. This is the reason that most of them go into their shells or have a rebellious behavior. As a parent, you can infuse confidence in them by encouraging them with rewards. But rewards should come when they deserve it. Keep looking for the things that they have done right and reward them with praise or small gifts. This boosts their self-worth and breaks the ice between the two of you.
- Be calm and patients
As a parent of a teenager, you will have to face bouts of bad behavior and rebellious tantrums. There will be times that the child may get stubborn about something. Being calm and patient is the best approach that you can take to avoid clashes. An empathic attitude at such troubled times will get you closer to the teenager.
- Listen to the child
Teens have opinions just like adults do and expect to be listened to with respect. Always be available and willing to listen to their concerns and thoughts. Allow the teen to talk openly without interrupting them, though you can voice out your concerns once they have finished. Doing so gives them the feeling that you are interested in what they have to say. Considering their opinions to arrive at mutually understood decisions is a good way to bond with them.
- Set good examples
Another way to build bonding with your teenage child is by setting good examples for them with your actions rather than speech. Use a positive tone in your conversation and abstain for bad habits such as alcohol and smoking. This is the age when the child is likely to emulate you and this makes you answerable for every action you do.
- Apologize if you are wrong
Parenting is all about being big-hearted and open-minded. If you thing that you have wronged them in any way, do not think twice before apologizing. Aspire for being a perfect parent but tell your child that you are still working on it. When you do so, the child respects you even more and understands your love for him or her.
- Make your expectations vocal and clear
Besides making all the efforts to get closer to your child, convey your expectations to them loud and clear. Talking does the trick because it gives the child a clear understanding of what he or she is expected to do. Have realistic rules for them and assert that they are followed at every stage. Have rewards for adhering to these rules but do not set punishments for non-adherence.
A teenager will always be a teenager and it is your responsibility as a parent to make life easier for him or her. Remember that this is just a passing phase that they will outgrow and become more mature one day. Be patient, hang on and wait for that day!