Five Ways to Have a Better Relationship With Your Teen

Sometimes when our little darlings grow into teens, they tend to shut us out. There are often misunderstandings and the dynamic relationship we once had withers to simple yes and no conversations. The truth is, no parent wants to be shut out by their child.
01/29/2016 12:14 pm ET Updated Jan 29, 2017

Parenting never came with instructions, we just fell into our roles and learned as we went along. We seemed to do an exceptional job in establishing a relationship with our little ones. We would laugh, play, get ice cream, go to the park, watch movies and the list goes on. Everything was perfect until our child grew into a teenager.

Sometimes when our little darlings grow into teens, they tend to shut us out. There are often misunderstandings and the dynamic relationship we once had withers to simple yes and no conversations. The truth is, no parent wants to be shut out by their child. We all want the joyous connection to continue forever. Parents are willing to try anything to communicate better with their children to make the relationship better, yet never know where or how to begin. I will share with five ways to enhance the relationship between you and your teen.

1. Ask them what you need to do to make the relationship better. Usually, we say that kids don't know what they need. Well, in this case, that is entirely wrong. They know what they want you to do, they just haven't been given the platform to express their desires. Sometimes the right question will give you the information you seek.

2. Be understanding. We were all teenagers with parents who didn't understand us. Teenagers hormones are running rampant, they have new feelings that they can't make sense of, they're at school trying to find their identity and attempting to fit in. They need someone to talk to and help them sort through the mess. They need you to be understanding and patient as they begin their transition from child to a young adult they need a comfortable home environment where your child feels listened to and feel comfortable to speak.

3. Encourage more, fuss less. Nobody wants to hear the continuous nagging about our wrongdoings, yet we can never get enough praises. The same goes with teenagers if we constantly nag them they will shut down and shut us out. Flood them with praises; tell them how great they are for even the smallest tasks. By praising more, your explanation of their wrong doings will stand out. If they have misbehaved, have a straightforward discussion of their wrongdoing, which includes a solution and punishment if necessary in a conversation that doesn't linger. At the close of the conversation always tell them they are better than the behavior they have shown, and better behavior is the norm for them.

4. Set aside time for them. Your teen needs to know they are important in your life. Believe it or not, they are still kids whether or not they want to admit it. Being a child means they want alone time with mommy/daddy, and you have to be an understanding parent and give them what they need. Take them someplace they enjoy. An opportunity has been presented to you to learn about the person they are becoming, as well as aid in their decision making.

5. Talk more and be honest. Teens sometimes have a sixth sense; they can sniff BS a mile away. Your teen wants your authenticity and needs your honesty. You will have to have conversations that make you uncomfortable, but on the bright side, at least, they are trusting you enough actually to have those kinds of conversations with you. We need our children to talk to us because we have their best interest in mind when we advise them. Their friends can't advise them properly and will make matters worse. Have an open door policy and remember they are children who need guidance to grow properly.

Transitioning to being the parent of a teen does not always have to be an arduous process. As parents, it is our duty to loosen the straps of parenthood and slowly guide our offspring in the right direction toward adulthood. We have to remember to acknowledge them as growing, individuals who are in a confusing state between childhood and adulthood. Taking a new approach, one where we try to be more understanding of their transitioning period from childhood to young adult serves the relation better and keeps the bond strong.