A huge thank you to Anisa Lewis for sharing her top 3 tips for parenting teens positively. Anisa is an experienced Parenting and Leadership Coach with a focus on positive families and learning. You can book a free 20 minute chat with Anisa here.
2020 is a year that we are unlikely to forget in a hurry and although COVID vaccines are being rolled out, life will probably never quite return to the way it was before Corona reared its head (if a virus can have a head!). The mental load of juggling, isolation, home schooling, work, family and so much more will, however, be with us, I fear for many years to come.
As we step boldly into 2021, I have complied my top 3 tips for parenting teens positively.
Tip 1- Connection
Teenagers who have a stable, warm, trusting and open relationships with their parents are better equipped to develop independence and grow into responsible adults. They are also more likely to be successful at handling risky situations like smoking, alcohol and other drug use and sexual activity.
Connecting with your teen can be casual, which involves using frequent everyday interactions to build closeness. Or connecting can be planned – this is when you schedule time to do things together that you both enjoy.
Ideas to help with connection:
- Be present, so they know they have your attention, even if it is just for a few minutes
- Show interest in them and what they are doing
- Just be there for them
- Keep it brief to begin with
- Let your child choose what they want to do with you
- Don’t give up
Tip 2 – Active Listening
Active listening can be a powerful tool to improve communication and helps to build a positive relationship with your teenager.
Active listening looks like:
- Giving your child your full attention, even if only briefly
- Allowing your teen time to talk without interruptions
- Resist the urge to ask lots of questions while they are speaking as it breaks the train of thought
- What is your child saying? Rather than thinking about how you are going to respond
- Making eye contact
- Positive body language to show your son or daughter that you are listening such as nodding your head
An important point here for this tip is that listening is not the same as agreeing. You can understand and respect another person’s point of view without agreeing with it.
Tip 3 – Family Values
Values are often a guide for the decisions you make and how you choose to live your life. You are most likely clear on what your own individual values are, even if you have never taken the time to define them. However, family values need to take in the thoughts and feelings of all members of your team, so therefore need to be discussed and formulated together. This then gives your family and teens a moral compass to help to guide their behaviour and actions, as it does yours.
How to define your family values:
- Ask questions
- What is most important to our family?
- What brings us happiness?
- What makes you most proud of our family?
- What do you look forward to about being at home as a family?
- What does your family provide for you that your friends can’t?
- Be a good listener (see points in Tip 2)
- Decide on your family values – bring together all the ideas, discuss, ask everyone to choose their top 3 and then compare, then come up with an agreed 3 – 4 values that are important to you all, you could include such values as: communication, respect, kindness and safety. Once you have your list you may need a further discussion on what the words or statements mean to you all as family and the kind of things you can do that would uphold these values.
Our children as they hit their teens are being prepared for adulthood, although they are not perhaps mature enough for the responsibility. Hormones cruising through their bodies sending moods, emotions and at times our sanity out of the window. The teenage years are marked with a time of questioning and exploring, Am I normal? Who am I? What is my place in the world? And we as parents take a back seat to their peer group. Parenting through this stage of our children’s development does not need to be all doom and gloom. Follow one if not all of my tips to come out of the other side with your connection and relationship with your teen stronger and more positive than ever.