Emily L is a 13-year-old from Corona, CA. She enjoys reading, writing, and swimming and her favorite subject is history because it inspires her to learn about other cultures.
For parents, creating a fully functional relationship with their teens can sometimes be rocket science. They know what they want; obedience, responsibility and mutual trust. Teens desire much of the same qualities in a relationship. The toughest separator is the way in which the relationship should be achieved, as well as many of the specifics. For example, I want my parents to be people who I can turn to with my problems, they want the same thing. I also want them to listen without judging and only give advice when asked for, which they have difficulty with. It is simple misunderstandings like this that can drive a thick wedge between you and your teen, which is why it is imperative you are sensitive toward their expectations of you.
My dream parent is someone who is caring without being pushy or forceful, supportive without getting overly involved in my personal activities. I could trust them without being forced to reveal all my secrets. Really building your dream relationship is all about balance and discovering compromises in frustrating situations. Parents should not be overbearing, yet at the same time there has to be consequences, if not, you will be taken advantage of. It’s the simple truth. My parents aren’t going to be the center of my world, far from it in fact, but they should at least play an important role in my life as superiors.
Here are some quick tips to build your dream relationship with your teen:
1) Don’t be a hypocrite. Yelling at them while they are yelling gets you nowhere. Or, another example is if you’re always on your phone don’t complain if they are, too. Only set standards you yourself are willing to follow.
2) If they share a problem with you, don’t judge or immediately come up with ten different ways to fix it unless your help is specifically requested. Often times simply talking it out works wonders and having too strong of an opinion on their personal lives makes them want to talk less.
3) Be genuinely interested in the things they are, may it be fashion, video games, whatever. This provides plenty of easy conversations and builds trust.
4) Before punishing, hear their side of the story even if you’ve already made up your mind. This makes you seem fairer and lessens the resentment toward the consequence and you.
5) Don’t try to force your dreams on them. Nothing is worse than to have someone telling you who you should be, what career you should have and how you are going to get there. As long as their goals are realistic, support them even if you think they are making a mistake.
Your relationship with your teenager is going to be a bumpy ride with all sorts of problems along the road, but enjoy it as best as you can. Compromise should be your best friend and judging gets you nowhere. Try to discuss what they want from you and take that information into consideration. Most importantly, remember that no relationship is irreparable.
Photo Credit: Daquella Manera from Flickr