You have walked them through their first wobbles, helped them with long division homework, and let go of their hand as they took their first steps into secondary school. No longer a toddler or pre-schooler, your teen has grown up quickly and may seem to have created a life of their own; but they still need you.
Talking with your teenager can feel like approaching a brick wall at times. We suggest creating a safe space to help them open up and feel confident and supported in talking with you, but how exactly is that done?
Hold On To A Positive Attitude
When we find out something about our kids, or they come to us with a problem, it's very easy to react to the situation rather than respond to their needs. We react with anger, frustration, or judgement. We don't mean to, and we certainly don't want to hurt our teenager's feelings, but our emotions can be as strong as theirs. However, by reacting, we fill the space we hold for our children with negativity.
Hold on to a positive and open-minded attitude so that they feel accepted, supported, and loved. We give them a safe space to talk to us with honesty and trust by responding with insight, guidance, and love and not reacting with words or strong impromptu emotions.
Ask Supportive Questions
We can very easily run with advice based on our own experiences, but our kids have to learn independently. Ask questions that will help guide them to the right answer to solve their problem. When we do this, we support them to be independent and decisive, understand their environment, and recognise when something is not working out for them in the way they hoped.
When we support them by asking the right questions, we give them the opportunity to question their lives insightfully, strengthening them as they grow into adulthood.
Be Their Ultimate Support
As our kids grow, they build a strong network of friends who may become lifetime relationships. But, no matter how strong these friendships are, our children will always come back to us as their ultimate support. It can be very easy to make remarks or comments on their choices, but that negates the positive space we aim to build.
As they navigate the difficulties of the teenage years, talking openly to your teenager can create a calm, supportive and non-judgemental space. In this way, we scaffold them to make their own decisions, live their own lives, and come back to us when they need that extra guidance and support.