“COMMUNICATION – THE HUMAN CONNECTION – IS THE KEY TO PERSONAL AND CAREER SUCCESS.”
11 years – 18 years
Teenagers are naturally anxious or insecure about where they fit in the world. Part of their own development is getting an understanding of what relationships they want or need in their lives. What really matters to them is who they matter to and who values them. They are very good at detecting who is genuine in wanting to connect and communicate with them, and who has other motives.
Tweens and teens are trying to become independent of you, their parents. This is part of their psychological development at this stage – there are certain things parents need to know and much more importantly there are certain things parents do not need to know. Give them their privacy.
We need to give our kids trust. They need to believe we trust them – without trust we have nothing. I would always suggest ‘trust them until they give you a reason not to’. If they believe you trust them, they are unlikely to break that trust easily – If they believe you do not trust them, they may feel like they have nothing to break.
Try not to make decisions about your teenager to please others – family, neighbours, friend’s parents. You know your own child, listen to yourself.
The most effective way to communicate with teenagers is to show an interest in what they are doing. Let them know you are always there for them. Let them know they can come to you for help and advice, no matter what.
Have a time in the day that you both know ye can talk to each other – in the car, at bedtime, dinnertime, whatever works for your family.
If your teenager comes to you and you are openly shocked by what they have told you and react in a negative way, they may not come to you again. If you are shocked, try to take a breath, suggest you talk about it later on – give yourself time to take in what they said and then to act in a reasonable understanding manner, try to remember how you felt when you were a teen. If you react dramatically and negatively and are not supportive/understanding, it may be the last time they come to you with serious matters. This does not mean you do not address the situation, it means you address the situation calmly and rationally.
Do not break your trust with them – if they ask you not to say anything to anyone else, keep your word. If your teen hears you on the phone later to family or friends telling them about your conversation, this may also stop your teen coming to you again.
If communication has broken down, for whatever reason, do everything in your power to build it up again. Write to them, text them – just be sure to communicate with them. Do not harass them, do not badger them, this may push them away. Take it slowly, one step at a time.
You know your own child better than anyone else. Trust your gut. Do not be afraid to ask for advice from someone you trust or someone in the parenting field.
Feel free to email me should you have any concerns in this area.