Here is a list of things that I found to be effective in building a good relationships with my teens. Give them a try and let me know what you think!
1. Have a dialogue journal
– a notebook that you and your teen communicate through. A lot of teens find it difficult to talk about their feelings, but are willing to write it down. So, if you are having trouble getting your teen to open up, start a journal. Write a note in it and put it on their bed. Ask questions that require more than one word answers. It may take a little while, but soon you will be hearing all about their CRUSH. The notebook doesn’t have to be fancy, it could be something as simply as a spiral notebook with paper or just a blank spiral notebook.
2. Always knock before you enter their room
– This is not only for their protection, but yours. You never know what you are going to see them doing in there! Seriously they will appreciate the privacy and feel respected, this builds trust. Obviously if you think that something funky is going on in there-hell yeah break that door down!
3. Let them have their own personal style
– If overall they are good kids and are not getting in to trouble, does it really matter if she has green hair or if he wants to wear shorts everyday. Give them a little bit of room to express themselves! Don’t you remember your style as a teen (Aqua net was my friend). My daughter likes to dye her hair all the time, as long as it’s not bleach, I don’t mind. Currently it is blue and it has been green in the past!
4. Don’t always say no
– We all need to pick our battles. I mean is it such a big deal if they want to go to the movies with a group of friends? Yeah they’re maybe kids of the opposite sex there, but if you drop them off and pick them up, at least you know where they are. Obviously saying no is important like being alone in their rooms with the girlfriend/boyfriend with the door closed! Oh hell no! Safety is always the top priority, but remember they are teenagers and need to have some fun.
5. Be a parent not a friend
– This is last on my list, but I feel like it is the most important thing to remember. Your teen has plenty of friends to pal around with and be stupid with. Your are their to guide them, provide advice, comfort them, taxi them around, etc. Just remember that teens need rules and they need to know there are limits to their behavior and that there are consequences for not following the rules. Despite what kids say they need rules. It helps them feel secure and loved. We all know that eventually our kids will be having sexual relations, but that doesn’t mean we let the significant other sleep over! No we voice our opinions on premarital sex (whatever they may be), we give them information and an ear to listen!
These are just some suggestions on how to build a better relationship with your teen. They are still teens though, so don’t worry you will still get the door slammed in your face and an occasional I HATE YOU, but that is how you know you are doing your job! Good luck!