As a parent of a teenager, it can at times feel as though you speak a different language. While your efforts to talk things through might be met with a closed door and many emotions, it is important to be able to decode the language of your teen, even when they aren’t speaking. Here are some things they most likely want you to understand.
1. Ask About My Day
Many parents are probably familiar with asking their teen the most interesting part of their day only to get an “I don’t know” or “Not much” in return. Although teens may not always be the most social, it doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate the fact that you care. Keep asking and be there for the time they have something they really want to get off their chest.
2. Be Honest
When I ask you why the sky is blue, I can tell when you’re making up your answer. Be honest when you don’t have all the answers and allow an open dialogue to figure it out.
3. Support Me
I may do what I want some of (ok, most of) the time, but I will reconsider my decisions if you strongly disagree with them. Your opinions matter to me.
4. I See What You Think I Don’t
There are a lot of things I see in our home that you don’t know I do. As a young adult, it is important that I am not dismissed as a child who is unable to understand their surroundings. Treat me with respect and as a conscious individual.
5. I Need Rules
While it is nice when I get away with sneaking out and not doing my homework, I need the structure of the rules you provide. If you never enforce rules for me, I will think you don’t care about what I do and most likely, I’ll begin to act out. Not that I want you to be excessively strict, but I want you to show that you care.
6. I Will Make Mistakes
While you want to protect me in all aspects of my life, I cannot live in a bubble. I have to make mistakes to learn what to and what not to do in the future. It is important that you give me the space to learn while showing me you’ll still be there to catch me if I really need you.
7. My Teenage Years Are Not Your Teenage Years
While our teen years may have many similarities, understand that we experienced them in different generations. I will fail in different ways than you did. I will succeed in different ways than you did. I will aspire to lead a life apart from yours. While I lead a different life, your experience will be invaluable when applicable to mine.
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