For most parents, the thought of their children becoming teenagers is something that seems terrifying – not only does it symbolize for them that their child is growing up, will soon want to be doing their own thing, won’t want to have their parents around, but it feels like during this time in their life they’re going to be off doing all kinds of things that they’re not supposed to be doing like experimenting with alcohol or even drugs.
However, it’s important to remember that most teenagers don’t do any of this stuff, they’re perfectly pleasant people who are simply trying to navigate their way through a period in their life that they don’t really understand, and so as parents, your job is to support them and help them through this – this can sometimes be made easier by trying to relate to them by remembering that you, too, were also a teenager at one point.
The teenage years don’t have to be feared, and one of the best ways to build a solid relationship with anyone, whether it’s your child or someone else is through trust, so in this post we’re going to share with you exactly how to do that.
Communication is one of the best skills that anyone can ever learn in life, and it’s something that you should definitely be trying to do with your teenager. It’s important to remember that everyone has their own style of communication, and this is often the trickiest part when it comes to communicating, but once you learn how you both communicate then it’s so much easier. Communicating with your teen is simply things like letting them know you understand them, if you’re planning to track your child’s phone, let them know, let them know that you’re there for them if they need to talk, and creating a safe space for them to come to you with any problems they have without them feeling like you’re interfering.
Be a role model
Often as parents it can be difficult to remember that it shouldn’t be one rule for us and one for our kids, and although this is mainly because we don’t want them making the same mistakes we did, it’s important that you’re able to show your child good examples, so for example if you’re going to be nagging them about the effects of alcohol, then you can’t be doing this whilst drinking a bottle of wine. Instead, talk to them and educate them about alcohol and don’t try to pretend it doesn’t exist. If we look at many countries in Europe, they have a far more tolerant attitude to alcohol, far lower legal drinking ages, and yet countries like the Netherlands and Germany have some of the lowest teen drinking problems in the world because parents are more open with their children about these things and they set good examples.
As tempting as it can be to try to be more of a friend to your child – especially as they approach the teen years because you want them to see you as the cool parent and not rebel against you, and of course it’s great to have a strong friendship with your child, but it’s still crucial that the line between parent and friend is clear and not crossed. The thing is, teenagers need discipline and as much as you may not think it, having a parent who acts like a parent will provide them with a strong sense of security, which will definitely help when it comes to building trust.