Staying Connected With Your Teenager

Teenagers often have two questions on their minds at all times, albeit they tend to be unspoken. “Can I get my own way?” and “Am I loved?” Parents frequently find themselves attracted into devoting the majority of their time on responding to the second inquiry while ignoring the first. Teenagers often push or challenge the limits that their parents have set for them. It might be challenging to keep in mind that who you are as a parent is more significant than what you do as a parent when boundaries are being questioned. To put it another way, it’s crucial that we avoid linking our sense of worth to how we feel about our parenting. If we do, we won’t be able to consistently give the first inquiry the appropriate response.

Three basic problems are ongoing struggles for the majority of youngsters. Is it okay for me to look the way I do? Their sense of self-worth is directly affected by this. The second is, “Am I capable or intelligent enough to succeed in life?” Their perception of their competence has a direct bearing on this. “Do I fit in and do my peers like me?” is the third question. This has a direct connection to a sense of community. Adolescents have these three basic needs.

By concentrating too much on their behavior, parents may become sidetracked from assisting their teenagers with these questions. Over the years, I’ve told many parents that it won’t matter how many dirty dishes are still in the sink or how many other duties are unfinished in ten years. It will matter if your adult child is certain that you love him or her without condition and that you are close to him or her. We need to be reminded that if we don’t keep up a relationship, there is little chance for ongoing impact.

Must be heard

We all have wants, and there is no time in our lives when meeting those needs is more crucial than in our adolescent years. The desire to be understood comes first. Being understood is different than agreeing with your teen. When our teenagers say something that we believe to be foolish or plain incorrect, as parents, we frequently feel the need to reprimand them. If this is done frequently, contact is cut off. Many adolescent boys, in particular, stop communicating. It is challenging to resist trying to elicit information from them. It is preferable to just keep your teen aware of your availability.

Need for affirmation

A second requirement is validation. This validates what they already do. As parents, we frequently wait to praise our children until they have mastered a skill, achieved the grade we believe they should have, or followed our instructions correctly. I advise parents to compliment their children’s approximations. Instead than waiting for complete achievement, give encouragement if a teen completes one portion of a task. A youngster or teen will frequently turn to those who confirm them as the ones with the most power. We frequently hear accounts of how an individual coach, teacher, or other authority figure made a significant impact on a person’s life through affirmation.

Need for blessing

Being blessed is the third necessity. Teens are not required to take any action. This is the undeserved, unqualified acceptance of “who you are.” No matter who you become, what you do, or how you appear, I will love you because you are my son or daughter, is the resounding message. This message must be spread widely.

Need for physical affection

Possessive physical affection is a fourth need. Numerous studies have revealed that, beyond the age of four, most parents only physically interact with their kids when it is absolutely necessary, such as when dressing and undressing, getting into the car, or administering discipline. Even in the teenage years, it is still absolutely crucial. Teenage years can make it uncomfortable to express physical affection, especially between a father and daughter. The urge for physical contact does not change, despite the differences in appearance.

Need to be chosen

You must select the fifth need. We all want to be selected by someone else for a relationship. The majority of us recall the stress of anticipating our order of selection for kickball at recess. For teenagers, being selected is very essential. The most crucial time to let a teenager know you are choosing to remain with them is when they are at their most challenging to love or appreciate. I advise parents to routinely spend one-on-one time with each of their kids. The impact of being selected is beautifully illustrated in the film Forrest Gump. Forrest was rejected by everyone else on the first day of school, so Jenny decided to let him ride with her. Forrest fell in love with Jenny on that day and never looked back.

By meeting these requirements, we can maintain our relationship with our teenagers and help them grow in confidence, competence, and sense of belonging.