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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.

  • I hope to always have a close relationship with my kids when they become teenagers.

    Reply

  • All these questions are great to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing

    Reply

  • Great questions to think about, thanks.


    • Pleased you found it informative. Thanks.
      Anne

    Reply

  • I love all of these questions and think that parents of teens should often reflect and review. My husband and I do this often. I could revisit a couple of the questions listed, but feel (not naively), that we’re work well together as a team and as a family and that our 15 year old son knows he’s loved, knows we have his back, and knows the expectations and rules of our family. We do remind him often, too!!


    • Great job, keep up the good work. I love to hear positive stories about teens.
      Anne

    Reply

  • My children are beyond their teens and we do have a lovely relationship still, but I find our grandchildren often come to see us sans parents and let us know what is going on in their lives and occasionally ask advice which they may or may not take. But it’s lovely to talk to the grandchildren as adults [they are 18 and 19 so can drive] and often we can sort out home problems just by letting them talk to us and they find their own solution usually.
    Your tips are great, and hopefully will be followed. One never says what it was like in your day, unless of cause they ask because they are interested in the ways things have changed.


    • I love your comment, thanks for sharing. I look forward to the day I can offer support to my grandchildren. They are lucky to have you.

    Reply

  • I am not with my Daughter’s father any more and he is remarried my teen will tell me how great her Dad is and how lovely her step Mum is and tell me how rotten I am it makes me fill so little. :(


    • Aw bless you, that must be so hard !!! Hope somehow someday this will change and she can see that you love and respect her no matter what and can be trusted.
      Is there any communication between your ex, his new girlfriend/wife and you ?



      • Often the people we hurt the most are those closest to us because we know it is safe to be who we really are around them and they will always love us. Stay true to yourself. Often our kids don’t appreciate us until they have children of their own. Comparison is the killer of joy, so don’t even go there!
        Anne

    Reply

  • I think that this is advice that applies to parenting always. Not just when your kids are teenagers

    Reply

  • You need to start most of these things well before they’re a teen!


    • Absolutely! And if you do it will make the teen years smoother. Anne



      • I agree with you. They reach teenage stage before they reach 13 these days.
        Parents need to teach children the value of money from a young age too.
        e.g. I know a Grandma who bought something small that a child asked for. The child very rarely asked for anything. Grandma gave her half the money which she had to give to the shop assistant. It taught her from an early age that things in shops are not free. Missy remembered that for quite some time and would mention it occasionally. She was about 3 years old at the time.

    Reply

  • Yeah, I/we love chatting with our pre-teen kids. I think it’s most interesting to hear what’s on their mind and what moves them and often they’re so funny !


    • Yes they can be entertaining! And it’s fun to watch them grow. Anne

    Reply

  • This is a really helpful article. Thanks for posting, I will need to bookmark this for future use.


    • Delighted you found it helpful, thanks. Anne

    Reply

  • This is a very well written article Anne. I agree with the points you’ve made. I am the mother of a teenage girl and I think and hope that we have a very strong and trusting relationship.


    • Thanks for your positive feedback, much appreciated. Anne

    Reply

  • Good aricle,communication is the key between parents and teens.

    Reply

  • This one I’ll need to file for a few years time lol

    Reply

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