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How to Connect With Your Teens | Gregg Jaclin

This piece was originally posted on GreggJaclin.org

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When children become teenagers, communicating isn’t always as easy or pleasant as it was when they were younger. Teenagers are coming into their own and developing their own thoughts, beliefs, and opinions. Connecting with your teens can be a challenge as you navigate tricky terrain and conduct difficult conversations. Still, it is far from impossible to communicate and actually connect with your teenage children.

Here are four tips for connecting with a teenager.

Learn Patience

Stuck somewhere between needing their parents and wanting to explore their independence, teens can be a bit hard to handle. As such, parents need to learn how to see their teens differently. Since parents were once that age, a little bit of patience can go a long way to re-establish lines of communication and show teenagers that their parents care about them both as their children and as individuals.

Create Rituals

As teens get older, it’s natural for them to want to spend more time with their friends than with their parents. This is why it’s important to create rituals that involve only parent and teen. These rituals could involve cooking their favorite meal or going out for coffee. Small gestures mean a lot to teens, even if they never say so.

Embrace Positivity

It’s probably safe to say that positivity is the last thing a parent of a screaming teen has on their mind. However, it’s important to remember that being a teen isn’t easy. It can be challenging to handle fluctuating hormones and peer pressure, so parents need to embrace their teen with positivity. Use kind words and actions instead of resorting to anger and screaming matches.

Let Them Lead the Way

Whether it’s shooting hoops or shopping at the mall, meet them on their turf. Even if they say that it’s not cool to hang out with their parents, most teens still want to bond with them. Giving them the opportunity to initiate connections or choose how you engage with one another provides them with autonomy and authority while also promoting a positive relationship.

Things to Think About

As parents, watching a child grow up is bittersweet. Seeing them go from a helpless infant into a lively teen with hopes and dreams is a wonderful experience. Best assured, sooner or later, the same kids who thought it was uncool to be seen with their parents, may one day be in the same position. Be patient, be strong, and most of all, be proud of your children as they become their own individuals.

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