For many parents, showing an infant or child that they are loved is easy. Cuddling, hugs, kisses, allowing them to sneak into bed with you or even taking them out for spontaneous ice cream dates can all reassure children that they are loved. However, sometimes, it can be immensely more difficult to reassure a teen that they are loved. Between personality clashes, teen struggles and general growing up, what worked for your child when he or she was younger no longer works now and you, as a parent, can begin to feel disconnected from your child. Below are five ways to show love to your teen that he or she will appreciate.
1. Spend time together
It’s true that a teen’s interests change drastically once he or she reaches adolescence. Taking him to the playground or the zoo may not always be a welcome gesture. However, meeting your teen on his or her level and engaging your child in a developing interest can be a great way to spend time with your child. Teens can feel love when you do something as simple as sitting down on the couch next to her during her favorite show or inviting him out for some fries and a milkshake after practice.
2. Leave encouraging notes
It’s no surprise that teens are often on the go, and sometimes the best way to connect is to simply leave a note. Put an encouraging note in his backpack or on the dash of her car. Even texting “Good luck on your test today. I love you!” can bring a smile to your teen’s face.
3. Welcome their friends
Many teens are social creatures and love spending time with their friends. Being a welcoming spot for your teen’s friends can show him that you accept and honor him, as well as his choice in friends. Next time your child has a group of friends over, offer to buy some pizzas and soft drinks, start a bonfire in the back yard or pick up some DVDs for them to watch.
4. Ask for their opinions
As adolescents move towards adulthood, they spend a lot of time trying to form their own opinions about the world, yet they also often live in a world where their opinions are not asked for or respected. Encourage your child to share his or her opinions, both on the “little things” like where to go for dinner and the “big things” like religion or politics. Asking for, and respecting, your teen’s opinions shows your child that you acknowledge and value her individuality.
5. Admit when you’ve made a mistake – and apologize!
As parents, none of us have all the answers and not every choice we make ends up being the right one. Teens are experts at picking up on this, and many aren’t shy to let you know this! When you’ve made a mistake in dealing with your teen, regardless of how big or small, openly acknowledge it and ask for your child’s forgiveness. Your adolescent will appreciate being treated with dignity and respect!
If you are still having difficulty connecting with your teen, give us a call. We can work with you through a free and confidential consultation in order to help you choose treatment options that may get your teen back on the right track and help him or her be more willing and able to accept your love and care. Our services are provided free of charge to you.