When children become teenagers, they often test limits, question authority, and spend less time with their families. As they become more independent and learn to think for themselves, relationships with friends become very important. It may start to feel like your teen doesn't need you anymore, but they do. Teens still need their parents' love, support, and guidance.
Simple, everyday activities can reinforce the connection between your teenager and you. Make room in your schedule for special times as often as you can, but also take advantage of routine activities to show that you care.
Here are a few tips for you and your family:
- Have family meals. If it's impossible to do every night, schedule a regular weekly family dinner night that accommodates your child's schedule.
- Share "ordinary" time. Look for everyday opportunities to bond with your teen. Even time spent driving or walking the dog together offers a chance for your teen to talk about what's on his or her mind.
- Get involved, be involved, and stay involved. Go to games and practices when you can. Ask about homework and school projects. Look for chances to learn about your teen's latest hobby.
- Get to know your child's friends. Knowing who their friends are is an important way to connect with your teen. Make your home a welcoming place for your teen and his or her friends. When possible, get to know the parents of your teen's friends too.
- Be interested. Make it clear that you care about your teen's ideas, feelings, and experiences. If you listen to what he or she is saying, you'll get a better sense of the guidance and support needed.
- Set clear limits. Teens still need your guidance, but you can involve your teen in setting rules and consequences. Make sure consequences are related to the behavior and be consistent in following through. Choose your battles. Try to provide choices in the matters that are less important.
Your Employee Assistance Program is Here to Help
If you need assistance having difficult conversations with your teen or if you or your family member need guidance or counseling, your Component Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help. EAP can also put you in touch counselor in your residential area.