You and your child used to have a great relationship when he was small, but now that he entered adolescence, everything changed. Probably, he became isolated, and he is not telling you everything as he used to. He prefers the company of his friends and always seems ready to be impolite or disobeying. If you would like to improve your relationship with your rebel teenager, then here are some tips that might help you accomplish this mission:
1. Choose your battles
You should try focusing on one thing at a time and chose your battles carefully. For example, if he has problems at school, stop arguing with him for unimportant stuff, because this will put too much pressure on his fragile shoulders. Nagging your teenager all the time about such details as the way he arrange his clothes or the way his hair looks will not result in anything good. Respect his problems, even though they don’t seem important to you and discuss only one problem at a time.
2. Open your mind
You were a teenager too, remember? It is a weird situation, when you are not a child anymore, but you are far from being an adult even though you are struggling so hard to get there! It is not that easy, you know? Hence, do not blame your teenager if he sometimes acts as a child, whereas other times he may seem as wise as an old monk. You should try to understand his point of view and help him find a way on the rough path of adolescence.
3. Negotiation is the key
You don’t have to agree to whatever your teenager comes up with in order to have a beautiful relationship with him or her. You just have to propose alternatives, to put conditions and ask to your teen to come with ideas of how to make his proposal work. For example, when going to a party, your daughter will ask to stay until late, while you wish for her to be home at 22. Do not try to imply that she could do something wrong, it will hurt her feelings. Just explain to her why you are afraid to let her go and give her the opportunity to find a solution to the problem by herself. She may surprise you…
4. Chose your words carefully
Remember that your child wants to be treated as a grown up. You might as well agree to talk to him as if he were indeed an adult. This way, you may both trigger his self respect and improve the way you two communicate. If you respect him and talk to him the way he wants to be talked to, then you might receive a great feedback. When discussing, give arguments for every decision you might take. “Because I say so” does not work anymore and it will only cause him to revolt against your authority. Moreover, if you feel that the discussion is hitting up, then you might consider dropping it and waiting for both of you to calm down. Do not simply dismiss your child. Ask him to wait until you are both calm again and may have a reasonable discussion. This way, he will feel important and treated as an equal.
5. Spend time with your teenager
If the only time you talk to your kid is when you are discussing his mistakes or problems at school, you will face rejection and anger. Give him the opportunity to talk to you about unimportant things such as a girl he likes, a colleague he had a fight with and so on. Taking him out for an ice-cream or a walk is a good opportunity to bond and discover your child again and again. If he doesn’t want to talk, don’t insist. Instead, you should tell him stories of your own youth and the mistakes you did in your teenage years, using a humorous tone. This way, he will find a way to connect to you and see you as someone who might understand him.
6. Back off a little bit
Your baby is at a critical age indeed. It is a very strange period of his life, and he will feel the need to be with other teens more than being with you. This should not make you feel hurt, or betrayed, even if you used to be very close to your child and now he rejects you. Step back as he looks for the company of other kids of his age. It is natural for him to do so. At this age, he believes that the friends in his group have all the answers while you have none. While you keep a watchful eye on him, give him the freedom to be with his friends. It is very important for your son or daughter.
7. Trust your teen and show him how proud he made you
Always show your teenager that you trust him even though he might have broken you trust in the past. It is a very important ingredient in any relationship. Showing him that you trust him to do important things and showing him how proud you are after accomplishing the serious task, or after respecting your decision is always great. The combination of these 2 ingredients, trust and hearing you mentioning his accomplishments will definitely have a positive effect on him. Sadly, too many teens are seen as persons who cannot be trusted and will suffer from it their entire life. Moreover, not telling your child you are proud of him will affect his teenage years in ways you can’t even imagine and will have an impact on his entire life.
Punishments are necessary in any parent-child relationship. The teen must know what the rules are and the penalties of breaking them. Thus, you must always be consistent, but fair. When he agrees to be home at a certain hour, and he is late, than you should let him know that there will be consequences (for example, not allowing him to go to the movies next day, as he had planned). Do not use harsh words, or make him feel miserable. Talk to him calmly, be objective and tell him that you hope he will learn to manage his time better, so that next time he would get home in time.
9. Respect the things he/she values
Even though you hate the kind of music your kid is listening to, don’t show your despise. If you consider that your daughter’s new boyfriend is not right for her, keep it to yourself. If your son wants you to knock before entering, or not to look in a certain box under the bed, than respect all these things. This will make him feel as an important person within the family and will allow him to look upon you as a model of integrity. If you do not respect the things he values, how could you ever teach him to respect other people and their belongings?
10. Stop refusing everything they ask for
I know that most of the time, you must refuse him, because your primary focus is his safety and his well being. However, or rather, because of this, you should agree to their requests whenever it is possible. Even though his request might seem strange or outrageous, try to respect the following: if the thing he is asking for cannot hurt him, if it cannot cause him to hurt himself or anybody else and if it is not destructive in any way, then you might want to consider accepting it.