Raising teenagers is much different than dealing with your kids in their toddler and adolescent years. Suddenly, they want more freedom, and they are pushing you away more, but at the end of the day, they still need you more than ever.
When my daughter turned 13, a shudder of fear went through my entire body. However, since she turned 13, we are closer than ever. This is because instead of taking the train of thought that we are two different species, I leveled with her. Take advantage of this time with your teen to help you to build your bond. You can do this by showing them they are loved by doing the 7 following things.
1. Show them empathy.
Your teenager needs to feel understood. Even if their problems or issues seem silly to you, put yourself in their shoes. Try to remember what it felt like when you were a teen and your parents wouldn’t listen to you.
2. Respect their boundaries.
Just because your teens are kids does not mean they shouldn’t be able to establish boundaries with you. For example, unless you have a really good reason, respect their privacy. Do not go through their diary or their belongings.
3. Be close to them, but not their friend, or their parent.
You can be close to them and have a bond while maintaining that you are their parent, not their best friend. The thing is, they need you as a parent. You can talk with them, you can listen to them, and you can sit back and listen without judgment, but do not just be permissive to gain brownie points with them.
4. Listen to them.
When your teen is talking to you, listen to them. Hear what they have to say and truly listen to them. If they say something you don’t want to hear, do not jump into attack mode. They need a listening ear sometimes more than they need you to reprimand them.
5. Talk with them.
Make it a point to ask them about their day, and listen. Ask them about their lives, and truly listen to them. Sometimes, they will have things they want to share but don’t know how.
6. Give them some freedom.
Teenagers need some independence. Maybe not all the independence in the world, but a little won’t kill them.
7. Give them limits.
Your teens need limits. They may not openly ask for them, but they need them. So, do not just let them do whatever. Even if they resist, one day they will thank you for it.