Parents need to build open, trusting relationships with their teenagers for good communication and emotional growth. This starts with providing safe spaces to talk and taking a genuine interest that sets judgment aside to learn more about your teen’s world. This can be challenging for many parents, especially if they have strong emotions about what is happening with their teens and are worried about their well-being. However, the ability to set those emotions to the side to truly listen to your teen’s side of things is vital.
The teenage years are a time of significant changes in the body, the mind, and the emotions. During this time, teens are trying to figure out who they are, how to get along with others, and their roles. You can set up a strong base for connection and understanding to help them best if you’re prepared to do the work needed to build trust and communication. Still, there are times when you need outside support to help you and your teen get your relationship where it needs to be. When that happens, Help Your Teen Now is by your side. We help you find the resources to strengthen your efforts and encourage your teen to be all they can be.
Essential Tools For Building a Strong Parent/Teen Relationship
Active listening is one of the most important skills when talking to your teen. Listening carefully without stopping or giving advice shows your teen that you value what they say. This creates a safe place where teens can talk about their problems, worries, and successes. However, active listening is often easier said than done. This is due to the high emotions often involved in communication with your teen, and although experience is normally an asset, it can be detrimental when navigating parenting.
After all, you remember what it was like to be a teen and often feel the need to use that knowledge to guide your teen where you think they should go. Unfortunately, this might cause you to skip the listening part of active listening and shut out what your teen has to say without even realizing you’re doing it. When approaching highly-charged conversations with your teen, take a minute to gather your thoughts, remember your purpose, and take a deep breath. In addition, follow the advice below about active listening.
Pay close attention: Put away phones, tablets, and other gadgets that could distract you, and make eye contact to show that you are listening.
Be engaged: Show interest by nodding occasionally, smiling, or keeping an open stance.
Minimize interruptions: Try not to talk over your teen. Let them say everything they want to say before you respond.
Don’t make decisions: Avoid the urge to make assumptions and conclusions.
Paraphrase: Follow up what your teen has said in your own words. This shows that you are thinking about what they said and helps clear any confusion.
Ask questions: If something isn’t clear, ask open-ended questions to find out more and ensure you completely understand their point of view.
Reflect emotions: Listen to their tone of voice and then repeat it. For example, if they seem excited about something, you could say, “It sounds like you’re really excited about this.”
Offer feedback: You can give ideas and feedback once they finish. This shows that you have been paying attention and are interested in what they say. However, the things you offer should reflect what your teen has said rather than negate their feelings.
When practicing active listening, try to put yourself in their shoes and see things from their point of view. In addition, don’t rush them. They may need time to think or say everything they want to say. It’s essential to give them room to do so. By following these tips, you’ll improve your listening ability, strengthening your and your teen’s relationship.
Additional Tools For Building Trust and Communication
In addition to active listening, you can adapt the following skills to assist you in building a strong foundation with your teen.
Use empathy and validation: While you might not always agree, you should try to understand how their child feels and what they’ve been through. Validating teens’ feelings and points of view helps them feel heard and accepted, which boosts their sense of self-worth.
Open communication: If you want to encourage open communication, you have to be easy to talk to and ready to talk about anything, no matter how uncomfortable. You can set the stage for this by not being too critical and instead being interested and willing to learn.
Respect privacy: It’s important to talk to teens but also to respect their need for privacy. You can find a good mix by showing genuine interest in their teen’s life without wanting to know everything about it.
Quality time: When you spend quality time with your teen, you become closer to them. Whether through shared hobbies, meals, or trips, these times give them a chance to talk and build a stronger connection between the two of you.
Setting boundaries: It’s essential for you to make clear rules and boundaries while building trust. Teenagers are more likely to follow the rules and feel safe when they know what they are.
Don’t judge: Teenagers are more likely to talk if they think you won’t judge them. This means advising without forcing strict views on them and allowing them to make mistakes and grow.
You should also focus on setting a good example. You can do this by communicating in a healthy way, following the advice you give them, and practicing effective problem-solving skills. When your teen sees you working through things, it helps them understand that hardships and challenges happen to us all. How you work through the issues and what you learn moving forward helps build strength and character. Whether navigating everyday conversations or addressing more complex issues, you can create lasting bonds that help your teen thrive now and in the future.
Contact Our Team For Additional Support
Teens today are hit with pressure from all sides, and as much as you try to create trust and openness, your teen might still struggle. When this happens, it’s essential to know where to turn. Getting your teen the extra help they need quickly is vital to their overall mental health and well-being.
At Help Your Teen Now, our team of skilled advocates has assisted thousands of teens and their parents in navigating the hard times. We can explore your needs, offer resources matching your situation, and deliver the best possible outcomes. We have relationships with a wide range of resources, from therapeutic boot camps to boarding schools and more. When things seem the darkest, our team can be the light you and your teen need. Contact us today to learn more.