We were all adolescents/teens at one time. Can you think back to that time in your life? Did you sometimes feel as if your parents just didn’t “get” you? Did you also sometimes feel like your parents didn’t know a whole heck of a lot? Welcome to the world of teens all over again! But this time, YOU are not the teen…you are the ADULT with teens of your own, or with teen nieces/nephews/grand kids or perhaps have friends with teens.
We often forget just how daunting and scary being a teen (especially in our fast paced, often pressured world today) can be. What is important to understand is the relationship you create with your family adolescents and teens; it not only affects YOUR health, but theirs as well. It will set a precedent for how those teens deal with future relationships and move forward into the adult phase of their life. Positive relationships create beautiful bonds and beautiful, healthy cells within each of us! So as you work toward improving your relationship with your circle of adolescents and teens, be assured that all of your good efforts will enhance their health and yours. My dear friend, Samantha Younis, who has worked directly with emotionally challenged teens, offers some frank, noteworthy tips on getting along better with those teen children in your life whom you love:
10 Sure Fire Ways To Better Relate to Adolescents & Teens (by Samantha Younis)
1. Help teens find a way to express themselves. Whether it’s the arts: music, drama, writing, drawing, pottery or athleticism and sports. Playing a sport doesn’t always have to infer a team sport. Some kids prefer more of a non-competitive activity like martial arts and rock climbing in which they can challenge themselves without the pressure of pleasing others. Another idea is to combine their interest with community service. For example, if a child likes to write poetry, he can then read it to seniors at the retirement center.
2. Kids would rather be disciplined than be ignored.
3. Be very careful with negative comments. Teens are already going through insecurities and self-esteem issues. You can give the 10 compliments, but they will remember the one negative one.
4. All children, especially teens, need to have an adult (besides family) in their life that they can talk to and count on for support or even a ride.
5. “Practice what you preach” really works! It is extremely difficult to tell a teen not to smoke when they see how much you enjoy it.
6. The old adage that “quality is better than quantity” doesn’t apply when talking about spending time with children. You need to spend both quantity AND quality time with them.
7. A lot of parents and teachers complain that their teen isn’t motivated. Maybe it’s about inspiration not motivation. Ask your child, “what do you think about, what activity do you like to do, what excites you, what inspires you?”
8. Kids don’t want you to be their friend. They need boundaries to feel safe. Teens don’t want you to dress like them, just be there for them.
9. Don’t have the attitude that your teen needs to respect you first. You’re the adult: show them respect so they will be able to trust you and learn from you.
10. Sarcasm is hurtful. While at a party recently, I witnessed an adolescent girl making cute faces at a baby who started to cry. The teen turned to he mother and said, “Mom, I think the baby’s scared of me,” and Mom jokingly replied You always make babies cry honey, you’re scary”. I looked at the girl’s face who was clearly hurt by her mother’s words. Words are powerful, especially to insecure adolescents!
Bottom line, teens want and need your support as a parent, guardian or mentor. Be there physically, emotionally and spiritually for them. Its one of the greatest gifts you can share with them and will last their lifetime!