6 Tips to Nurture Your Relationship With Your Teen

6 Tips to Nurture Your Relationship With Your Teen

“In any relationship, mutual respect and honesty is the key”

The teenage years are turbulent and confusing. Parents often find themselves at a loss when they realize that their sweet child has seemingly transformed overnight to a sullen and moody teenager. Navigating these years can be difficult, but with a lot of time and patience, you and your teen can emerge closer than ever.

Here are some things to keep in mind that will help strengthen you and your teenager’s relationship.

1. Recognize your teenager’s changing needs

parenting teenagers

Though you may still see her as a little child, your daughter is growing up and is craving for more freedom and independence. This is a valid desire, though more often than not, it can lead to a lot of miscommunication and hurt feelings. You start to see her as rebellious and disobedient, while she sees you in a different light as well—the parent who used to be nurturing and loving is now controlling, intrusive, and overly critical. Knowing and acknowledging your teen’s needs and wants is the first step to clear communication.

Dr. Anna Josefina Vazquez-Genuino, a psychiatrist from Makati Medical Center (Philippines), explains to TheAsianParent that respect and effective communication is vital. “It may be hard at first, but moms should learn to accept that their [teens] are growing up as separate individuals,” she says. “In any relationship, mutual respect and honesty is the key.”

2. Learn to listen

parenting teenagers

Your teen is going through a lot of new experiences and challenges, and is still learning to deal with the stresses that come with dealing with these difficulties. That this can lead teens to lash out at their parents.

“Teenage girls have a very difficult time acknowledging and dealing with their difficulties and emotional challenges,” says Dr. Vazquez-Genuino. “The slamming of doors and silent treatment are just some of the common problems parents experience with their teenagers. Teenagers going through a tough time transitioning are confronted with emotional issues: anger, frustration, over-sensitivity, and crisis of identity, among others.”

You need to learn how to listen to her now more than ever. Don’t lecture, don’t give your opinion, unless your teen asks you for it.

Read more tips on parenting teenagers on the next page.

3. Be patient

Why is it that moms bear the brunt of their teens’ outbursts? “Teens find their mothers the safest targets to express their emotion because girls know that their mothers love them unconditionally, and will not ignore or avoid them,” explains Dr. Vazquez-Genuino.

But teens often forget that moms have emotions too, and are capable of being hurt. It’s the parents’ job to teach their teens how to work through their negative emotions in a healthy way, without hurting others. Set a good example by watching your own temper and language.

4. Discipline correctly

According to WebMD, plenty of parents either discipline their teens too much or too little. What you need is to give your teen a clear set of expectations, and act appropriately when they overstep their boundaries. Sure, emphasizing obedience could make your teen behave better, but could rob them of the opportunity to learn how to solve problems or be more proactive, as you’re calling all the shots.

Too little discipline can also damage your teen. They aren’t adults, and they still have a long way to go and a lot more to learn before they can be self-sufficient. Never discipline your teen physically. Teen parenting expert Mark Gregston recommends disciplining them by taking away certain privileges and freedoms, and rewarding good behavior with more freedoms and privileges.

Read more tips on parenting teenagers on the next page.

5. Spend time with each other

parenting teenagers

Gregston recommends spending regular one-on-one time with your teen, once a week if possible. You could find a new hobby that you’re both interested in and pursue that together. Look for common interests and bond with that.

6. Forgive

You and your teen are bound to step on each other’s toes as they grow up. Learn to forgive, and ask for forgiveness as well when you are the one in the wrong. “It’s not easy to forgive someone to hurt you—but your [teen] is not just anyone,” Dr. Vazquez-Genuino says. “Learning to forgive each other will help you keep your relationship healthy. What’s important is at the end of the day, you have apologized and reconnected with one another.”

Be sure to check out theAsianparent Community for more insightful stories, questions, and answers from parents and experts alike. If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below.

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Any views or opinions expressed in this article are personal and belong solely to the author; and do not represent those of theAsianparent or its clients.
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