You’re here as you’re looking for ways to build a healthy relationship with your teen. It can feel difficult to find ways to connect with them. Maybe you have totally different interests or hobbies. Perhaps you are currently learning how to grow as a parent to work with them as well as possible. While you remain their parent, you still want to have a positive, open relationship with them.
Lately, your teen may have been feeling teenage angst coming on. They’re feeling irritated more easily, quick to react, or overall having an attitude. Maybe they’re the exact opposite. That they’re isolating themselves, not opening up, or simply avoiding talking about difficult things.
It’s important to remember that teenage years are very difficult for them, as well. They have a lot to figure out about themselves. On top of that, they may have pressure to shape their identity, pick a life career, focus on school, sports, or more. These years are developmentally crucial for them in being able to persevere through hard times.
As a parent, you’re wanting to be a positive role model for them while they navigate their teenage years. You want to be someone that they can trust and lean on. Rather than be a negative figure in their lives, you want to help them get to where they want to be. As parents, we can sometimes be viewed as the villain or persecutor. However, you want to be able to play a positive role in their lives!
Building and maintaining a healthy relationship with your teen is an amazing goal to have for your family. Not only will you be a great support system for them, but they will also reciprocate that back to you as well. Having mutual trust, understanding, and respect for one another goes a long way.
3 Ways to Build a Healthy Relationship with your Teen: Play an active role in their lives
Remain curious about your teen’s interests, hobbies, and activities. Maybe they really enjoy playing a certain video game, and are passionate about the characters. It’s a great idea to inquire about their interests, and allow them space to speak on them. If they are passionate about a certain topic, give them space to get excited talking about it.
By playing an active role in their lives, you will be staying up to date with what’s going on with them. If they engage in any forms of sports, you can remember to offer encouragement prior to the game, or plan to attend any of their games. If they enjoy hobbies such as hiking or skateboarding, you can find ways to be interested in that as well. Such as inquiring about their favorite hiking spots, or current tricks they’re learning to land.
This doesn’t mean that you would begin to participate in these activities with them. Or be around them 24/7 when they do engage in them. But rather, show interest in them. Find out what your teen likes or dislikes about it. Maybe they want to show you something, or teach you something.
It’s important to them that their interests matter! Whatever goals they have to achieve, hobby wise, sports wise, or anything else, matters greatly to them. And it means so much to them when you are validating that.
Teen therapy in Simi Valley, Ca, provides your teen with coping mechanisms for when difficult feelings arise.
3 Ways to Build a Healthy Relationship with your Teen: Remain open and honest
Encouraging openness and honesty can be tricky with teens. They may think you’re trying to trick them into opening up about something that might get them into trouble. However, it’s important to remember that in order to build trust, you need to show them that it’s a good thing to be honest.
For example, we don’t want our teens to be experimenting with drugs/alcohol, or hanging around the wrong crowd. It concerns us, and makes us worried – which can sometimes translate into frustration, even anger.
It’s important to model the openness you want to see from your teen. This can look like you sharing your own experiences you had as a teen. Maybe you also struggled in school with certain subjects. Or you were picked on or teased for something. Maybe you struggled with friendships or relationships as well.
Sharing your story will help normalize talking about topics that may be difficult to talk about. Maybe you tried drugs/alcohol as a teen, and had an experience, whether it be good or bad. Or, you experimented with sex at that age as well.
Regardless of what happened, find some things you can share with your teen. Whether they are relatable to what they are currently going through or not. It will help paint you in a light that you were their age once, too. And you made mistakes and had to learn from them the hard way.
When we act like we are perfect, we aren’t being authentic with our teens, or ourselves. It’s good to admit that maybe we messed up and made the wrong choices as teens. Our teens may feel more comfortable asking questions. Maybe even confiding you in a bad decision they made.
Teen therapy in Simi Valley, Ca, helps strengthen the relationship between a teen and their parents.
3 Ways to Build a Healthy Relationship with your Teen: Remain interested in their mental health
Remain interested, and offer support as needed for their mental health. Make it a point to check in with them frequently. You can do this directly, by asking, “How are you feeling today?” or “What emotions came up for you today?”. You can also ask how school is going, how friendships are, or their relationships.
It can be difficult for teens to open up about their feelings. They may feel hesitant to do so, or avoid talking about difficult topics. Teens may even act like everything is okay, just to avoid having a conversation about it. It’s possible that they may choose to hide their feelings from you.
Nonetheless, make efforts to check in with them. Remind them that they can talk to you about anything, judgment free. And that it is safe for them to tell you things. When your teen does open up and is honest, praise them for their honesty and trust.
It’s important to keep an eye on their performance in certain areas of their lives. If you see they are doing poorly in school, make sure to check in about how they’re feeling. Rather than reprimand them for bad grades, ask if they are okay, and what’s going on. Maybe they are falling behind in understanding the subject.
At the end of it all, it’s always a great idea to consider teen therapy or family therapy. Therapists will be able to guide your family to best grow individually and support one another. They are very experienced in understanding your personal needs, as well as the family’s needs as a whole.
Teen therapy in Simi Valley, Ca, is a safe space for your teen to learn how to communicate about difficult topics.
About Simi Psychological Group: We are a team of psychologists and therapists in Simi Valley, Ca offering an array of therapy services.
At our therapy practice in Simi Valley, Ca we offer Child therapy and family counseling, Teen therapy, Anxiety Treatment, Depression Therapy, Marriage Counseling, and Neuropsychological Testing. Now Offering Online Therapy in Los Angeles and Online Counseling Ventura County