“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
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
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, oversensitivity, 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.