Naturally, as parents, we love our children and want them to be happy. However, once they become teenagers, things seem to change. Suddenly, the happy, carefree days of childhood turn into one moody day after another. Yes, teenagers are notoriously moody. I’m sure you can remember being moody yourself as a teen. I know I can. Of course, with the pandemic, their moods might be even more up and down than usual.
This moodiness might lead to behaviors that are difficult to manage, such as:
● Slamming doors
● Refusing to cooperate even when asked politely
● Shouting insults
● Engaging in mockery
● Claiming to be misunderstood
While your teen’s moods may make you uncomfortable, it’s important to accept that what they feel most of the time has very little to do with you. A big part of it is how their brain is continuing to grow and mature.
So, what can you do to make the situation more pleasant? How can you recreate the bond you once enjoyed?
Even though it might not seem like it, chances are your teen wants to connect with you too. Yet, they may find it hard to do that under current circumstances.
Here are four daily actions to open your mind and heart to best support your teen:
1. Remember your role. Moms and dads tend to either be their teen’s boss or to try to be their best friend. None of these extremes serve as a good foundation for the development of teenagers.
As a parent, your task is to provide moral mentorship to your children. This means that you are their mentor, role model, someone they can learn from. Be compassionate, yet consistent and firm in terms of responsibilities and boundaries.
2. Talk less, listen more. Holding emotional space and active listening, especially when used with our close ones, are habits that take some practice to master. I know I still work on this as a parent.
When you slow down and allow yourself to listen to your teen, you’re creating a sense of safety, acknowledging your teen’s experience, and sending them a psychological message that “you are important.” Listening is the best way to help your teen deal with feelings of being misunderstood and abandoned.
3. Provide some privacy. Chances are that your teen is engaging in a lot of activities that they want to keep secret from you. Not, necessarily, because those activities are shameful, wrong, or illegal, but because your teen is practicing independence and needs you to trust that they can handle some parts of their life on their own.
Privacy and trust are closely connected in your teen’s world. This is why it’s crucial to know when and how to respect their need for time alone, secrets, or mysterious moods.
4. Communicate clearly. Communication is the key to a good parent-teen relationship.
When your teen knows what your values, principles, rules, and expectations are, there is a bigger chance for a healthy connection to form between you. Conversely, having to guess or assume the rules opens the door for conflict and confusion.
Use these actions daily until they become routine. Soon, you and your teen will once again enjoy the strong relationship you thought you had lost.
I would love to help you and your teenager work together to make a plan for their future. Schedule a complimentary strategy session with me here.