Sometimes it is hard for parents and teenagers to connect with each other and understand what the other is thinking. It’s too easy for parents to give up in frustration when their teenager is moody, swinging between happiness and gloom. However, parents who consistently communicate with their teenager and stay involved in their lives are more likely to have a positive and caring relationship that extends beyond adolescence.
Getting inside the brain of a teenager is a must for parents who want to make those lasting connections. While no two teenagers are alike, there are definitely some similarities that parents can learn about that will help them understand why teens do what they do.
Here are 3 tips on getting inside the brain of a teenager:
1. Spend Quality Time Together
You can’t get inside your teenager’s brain and learn more what they are thinking if you don’t spend some quality time with them. Opening up takes time and the right atmosphere, which doesn’t happen often between busy teens and their parents. Even though teens work hard for more independence, that doesn’t mean parents should avoid meaningful moments with them. Examples include running an errand at the store, taking a quick coffee break together, or doing chores or gardening side by side. No matter what, encourage honest communication.
2. Take Time To Listen
Sometimes, parents feel like they need to fill any silence with small talk. However, this just encourages teenagers to keep quiet. Instead of bouncing from topic to topic with your teen, enjoy some quiet time together, like listening to the radio when you are driving somewhere. More often than not, your teen with start to open up and share what is on their mind. Ask questions to gain understanding, but try not to dominate the conversation.
3. Don’t Judge
It’s easy to lecture your teenager, especially when they start talking about things that you don’t agree with or that you feel you can easily solve for them. Some of their problems may seem trivial or not a big deal to you, but to your teen, they are epic. Be a sounding board and offer advice as needed, but avoid pushing your ideas and opinions too forcefully. That’s the fastest way to shut down a conversation with a teen. The worst thing about jumping in with your judgement is that teens are more likely to avoid talking with you in the future. Keep a level head and you will keep your teen talking.
Getting inside the brain of a teenager is no easy task, but you shouldn’t ever give up. If one method isn’t working, try something else. Your teen needs to know that they can come to you with any questions, problems or issues they have. Remember that a teenager’s mental processes are not fully developed, and many things are confusing for them. Being there for your teenager will help them successfully navigate the path toward adulthood.