Staying connected with your teen

March 28, 2012 by  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

Communicating  with youngsters gets more challenging as they get older. Here are some suggestions to improve your relationship with your teenager. You will discover even more meaningful ways to maintain and deepen the bond  with your teen.

A Compliment a Day
Give teens just one compliment each day for one month and then record any differences in your relationship with them. Without exception, these “compliment prescriptions” always result in an improved relationship by  the end of the month. The compliments should not be forced (fake) and do not have to be on a grand scale. Comments like  “Your hair looks great that way”, “ I like the way you have rearranged your room,  it really reflects your personality”  will really work wonders. 
Don’t dismiss your teen’s broken heart
Don’t treat your teen’s broken heart in a dismissive manner  with  mundane clichés like it’s no big deal,  “There are plenty of fish in the sea”,   “He/she didn’t deserve you anyway” or  What can you know about being in love at 15?” Remember,   when you were a teen how you felt when you got dumped by your first love? Empathize your teen, be understanding and give a shoulder to lean on!

Memories strike a Chord
Surprise your teen with a scrapbook of pictures that you’ve taken of him/her, from babyhood to his/her present age. If you have them, include a few pictures of you and him/her together.  It strikes a immediate chord that will help building a strong bonding.  
Go on a “date”
Ask your teen if you could share a regular “date” with him every couple of weeks (or every week if he/she is game), where the two of you go out for lunch or to see a movie. What’s most important is your expressing a desire to do something  or spending more time with him/her.

Involve your teen

Get your teen involved in family decisions such as what colour to paint the house, which car to purchase, which vacation spots to visit, etc,. that makes the teen feel being wanted  and cared for at home.

Volunteer together

Establish a family volunteer tradition, where you both volunteer together at least once a month at places like a family shelter, children’s hospital or nursing home.

Don’t shut them out

If a family member is sick, encourage your teen to spend time with him/her.  They might be scared or hesitant initially to visit them.  But they  do not want to be shut out from seeing family members whom they have loved all their lives.  Give them realistic picture of  what to expect and accompany them if you sense they need your presence.

Appreciation counts

Write your teen occasional notes of appreciation, gratitude  and love, and leave them in sealed envelopes on his/her pillow.  It is sure to make a lot of difference in their attitude towards you.

More than words

Use a picture of your teen or one of you and your teen as your computer’s screensaver. Consider what that might signify to him/her. Every time you or he/she uses the computer, there he/she is. It’s another version of keeping a picture of her in your wallet, but with much more visible impact. 
Tips to stay connected

Communication and understanding are crucial to every facet of a parent-child relationship. Here are some helpful hints on how to cultivate respect from your kids:

•  Keep communicating with your teens, even if they don’t seem to be listening. Talk about topics that interest them. Respect and ask their opinions.
•  Give them privacy. That doesn’t mean you can’t knock on their door when you want to talk.
•  Set limits on their behaviour based on your values and principles. They will grudgingly respect you for this.
•  Continually tell them and make it know that you believe in who they are rather than what they accomplish.
– christabel frank

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