If you’ve got a teen then sometimes (or maybe all the time) you’ll be wondering just what is going on in their mind.
You might also be questioning your relationship and wondering if it might be as strong as it could be and if they will come to you if they have an issue they need help with.
Here are 10 questions to help foster your relationship with your teen:
1) Does my teen know that I really love her/him?
Do I find it easy to say it, but then not display it? Remember actions speak louder than words. It’s no use yelling abuse at your child and then apologising by saying, “you know I love you!”
2) Am I in control of my own emotions?
Parents set examples to their children whether they intend to or not. If you shout and complain at home, this will become an acceptable pattern for your kids to follow.
3) Am I aware of my language?
Say what you mean and mean what you say, without being mean. In a moment of frustration, we all say things that we don’t really mean, but once it’s out – it is impossible to take it back. And kids have a sharp memory.
4) Do I tell and yell or ask and allow?
No one likes to be told what to do: “you should, you must, you need to.” Everyone feels their hackles rise when someone uses this type of command, and teenagers are no different. Asking questions will earn you more willingness from your teen and asking open ended questions will allow your teen the opportunity to answer more than just yes or no!
5) Have my partner and I set consistent boundaries? And is our teen aware of them?
A united front is so important when parenting, otherwise kids will play one adult against the other and they are good at it! Consistency is the key. Teens actually like boundaries because they know where they stand and how far they can go.
6) Do I take control of the atmosphere in my home?
Does each member of your family bring home irritations from their day and dump them on the kitchen table? Home is a place where every family member should be able to relax, be open and honest. It is important that everyone deals with their ‘state of mind’ responsibly on a daily basis, and not use others as their emotional punching bag.
7) Have I taught my kids the value of money?
Often we spoil our children with ‘things’ or cash because we haven’t got time. Your time is much more valuable to your child than any ‘thing’ you could ever give him/her. We disempower children if we let them have everything they want. Dreams and desires are what drive motivation. So pay attention, not money.
8) Do you say, “when I was your age?”
This kills a teenager’s interest in you! Boring is what they chant under their breath. They are not interested in your history lesson. We live in a different world and parents are the ones who have to learn to adapt. Try instead to get your message across by having a fun conversation around the dinner table about how times have changed.
9) Is your child your best friend?
Your teenager doesn’t need you as a best friend even if you need him/her. They need you as their parent/guardian. They need your guidance. By all means enjoy going to the cinema or shopping together but always maintain the role of parent, otherwise the child may end up parenting you!
10) Do I trust my teen? Does he/she know this?
If not, they will do what they want and not care about the consequences because they believe that they are untrustworthy and therefore will make it a self-fulfilling prophesy. A teen will cut off her nose to spite her face rather than give in to you if she doesn’t think you trust her.
“We cannot change our kids, we can only change our response to their behaviour.” Anne McKeown
Do you have good communication with your teen? Please share in the comments below.