Bridging the Communication Gap with Your TeenIN ADOLESCENT HEALTH
We’ve all heard about “awkward adolescence” and those “terrible teenager years," but it doesn’t make it any easier to face when your doting daughter turns into a teenage terror. You used to be so close. Now you never talk and when you do, it’s always in anger. So what’s a parent to do? Here is a summary of some tips from the National Parenting Center to help you keep your sanity while helping your child make it through the his or her teenage years.
Identify with his or her needs.
As teens search for their identities, it’s common for them to withdraw more from their parents. While it’s important for parents to respect their children’s privacy, it’s equally important to provide them with proper guidance, understanding, and support.
Lend an ear.
If you’re yelling and they’re not listening or vice versa, information isn’t being exchanged. Be attentive to what your child is really saying and encourage open communication no matter what the topic.
Show some respect.
The words that made your daughter behave when she was 3 years old won’t work anymore, so engage her in mature discussion and use the opportunity to teach values and ideas she’ll take with her forever.
Realize that it takes two to talk.
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s often difficult for families to slow down and enjoy each other, especially as children grow up and gain independence. Take time to talk together, perhaps during a meal or while watching the game or shopping at the mall.
Compromise is key.
If you butt heads every time curfews, chores, or driving privileges are mentioned, work on a compromise that benefits both of you, such as if your teen shows responsible behavior for one month, you allow him or her to stay out later for a special occasion.
When to Worry
You might shrug off your son’s blue hair or your daughter’s nose ring, but if your teenager’s case of adolescent angst has become more alarming than annoying, it could be a sign of something more serious. The following behaviors could signal depression or alcohol or drug abuse:
If you notice two or more of these behaviors lasting longer than two weeks, you may want to consider seeking help for your child.
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Sources: tnpc.com, pbs.org, aap.org, kidshealth.org, washingtonpost.com
For more information, please visit the Claxton-Hepburn website.