5 Tips to Help You Not Bury Your Head in the Sand During The Teen Years
Some kids may be very open with their parents all the way through childhood but then there ae some who simply close parents off. The kids we knew can turn into the kids we barely know and it can be hard to figure out who they are, what makes them tick and where they need us through the adolescent years.
There will be critics that say “how do you NOT know your own kid?” The reality is that’s pretty easy, especially at a time when kids don’t even know themselves. What is tough, is that the teen years are really when we need to know them the most because it is not hard for them to get lost as they try to explore their independence.
Though not a child analyst, I’ve found these tips helpful to many of my clients over the years to help them get to know your kids better through their actions, thoughts and words without seeming like the inch-eye private eye invading their privacy.
- Take interest in their friends. A lot can be learned by who they hang out with and the hobbies of their friends. That friend you can’t stand holds a lot of influence in your child’s life, so make the best of it if possible and you may actually get closer to your own kid in the process.
- Embrace the wardrobe changes. Within reason, let them explore their identity through their OWN choice in clothing styles. As long as they fit within the dress code of the school, relax a little. If you sit and talk with them about why they choose this style, it’ll give you more insight about who they are trying to be for themselves at THAT moment
- Watch from a distance. Pay attention to their habits when they come home including everything from how they eat to what they do as soon as they walk in. They’re pretty cool people and even though we get on them a lot we could learn a lot about who they are based on how they act. Use this observation mode as a tool to find good things to say to combat all the things we don’t understand and could complain about.
- Remember they’re still learning. It’s easy to look at this grown up size person and assume they should know better or do better. Inside that big body is still a kid trying to find their way and they will make a lot of decisions that leave us wondering where their brain is. Be there! If they know you love them unconditionally, they know where to run if there’s trouble.
- Learn to forgive. There will be habits they have that are hard to break and will annoy the heck out of you. Just think about that one thing you struggle with as an adult like overeating, smoking, not exercising etc and how hard it is to change. They will do their best to get it right just as you are.
Photo: Vanessa_Hutd / Flickr