Being a parent is hard work, especially with teenagers that just want to live their own lives. Parents need to know that it is possible to reconnect with the children that were once their babies.
Australian Teenage Expo co-founder and youth expert Sacha Kaluri says young people want to connect with their parents but they also want space to be independent and find themselves.
“Many young people crave adult interaction and advice. Its just that they often don’t want it from their parents, so parents need to find a way to communicate with their teens in their language” Said Ms Kaluri
“They are fresh into the young adult world and they just can’t help but think they know everything and their parents don’t understand how they feel”
“Young people need to be reminded how much you love them often and that you do remember what it was like to be a teenager, this is a great time for parents to personally reflect on their own teenage years without relaying it to their teens”
Sonya Karras also co-founder of the Australian Teenage Expo said “If you can’t find a way to connect with your teen then its okay to have one of your friends or even a relative they relate to, to be your voice”
“You will be surprised how often your teenager will communicate with people close to you, you just need to make sure they offer good sound advice back to your teen.”
Sacha Kaluri has six tips to connect with your teenager.
- Talk to them in their time not yours. – Communicate with them when they are free and in the mood, not just when you have time.
- Get involved in their life without being too involved. If they have a sport, go and watch, then you can talk about it later, if they play a computer game try and play too.
- Show an interest in what they are doing. Get them to explain things they have been a part of or what they have learnt.
- Have their friends over at your place often. Make sure you create a time and a place for them to have space in your home. Even if it means they have the lounge while you watch TV in the bedroom, they live there too and have a right to space as well.
- Encourage them to be friends with your friends and family. Making sure they have good adult conversation with people you trust is vital. They will often ask them for advice and you can make sure they have good sound advice. Good adult mentors are essential to a young person. You don’t want them getting all their advice from their friends.
- Be a mentor to one of their friends; If one of their friends needs advice help them out. Which will make you look good in your child’s eyes. All teenagers love being told by their friends that their parents are great to hang around. But remember that they are not your friends.
Ms Kaluri says as much as we want our teenagers to trust us with what’s happening in their lives you must remember you are a parent first and friend second.
“It’s okay to be tough on them and show them the difference between right and wrong.” Says Sacha Kaluri
“Young people constantly tell me things that they have done that I know is harmful to them and I am tough on them by telling that that behavior is not okay”.
“Making sure they are safe and making good decisions is extremely important, we must also be a good example to them about how to behave”.
”We often become our parents even if we say we don’t want to be just like them, so look at yourself and ask, would I come to me for advice”