After many years now working with teenagers and interacting with their parents, I was able to identify a few things that I noticed are factors in the teenagers talking so much to me and not really to their parents.
It’s a complaint I often get “She doesn’t talk to me.” “She lies to me.” “I wish she would tell me what is going on in her life.”
For each parent who gave me this kind of complaint, I was able to identify the cause either in the way they talk about their teen or the way they talk to them.
Every time, I try to nicely inform the parent and more often than not, they corrected their behaviour and mended their relationship with their child.
Those who didn’t though, never reconnected with their child and are still complaining to me to this day about their teen’s behaviour.
So if you wish to keep a strong connection with your teen and are ready for some introspections, here are some behaviours you need to identify and change.
1. Stop Doing Things with Them
One thing I hear a lot from teenagers is how they don’t do things with their parents, not even eat. How can you check with your teen if you don’t spend time with them?
Spending time with them includes: going on a walk, sitting down for a meal, watching a movie, or going shopping.
These are very important times you don’t want to miss.
2. Not listening to them
You think your teen’s life is not interesting. You don’t care about anything that is happening in their life. You don’t know the name of their friends, what music they like, what their taste in movies, books, or anything else is. How come?
If you know nothing about your teen outside their school grades then you for sure will not be part of your teen’s life for long.
Your child is more than a report card and a future you want them to fulfill. They’re a full person with emotions and needs.
They are not here to fulfill your dead dreams.
On the contrary, you’re the one in charge of providing them with the love, support, and affection everybody is entitled to.
So get an interest in getting to know this person that lives in your house.
If you don’t listen to them now, do not expect them to listen to you when you will be old.
3. Minimizing their problems
When your teen shares a problem with your do you answer with: “That’s nothing.” “Trust me it’s not a real problem.” or any sentences like that.
Because you have bigger problems doesn’t mean your teen’s problems are not real. They are their problem. The things they are dealing with that are making them sad or depressed.
By not taking into account their feelings, you’re teaching them that you do not care about hows they feel and what they are going through. Their instincts will soon be not to talk with you when something bothers them since they know you will not make the effort to listen and understand but will make them feel bad for feeling something you do not validate.
This will in turn make them look for support somewhere else and potentially in the wrong places. That also will lead to them saying the dreaded: “nothing.” when you ask them what is wrong.
If you want your teen to share with you, then you have to be open to listening to them.
4. Assuming they Lie for Attention
Thinking they say something just for attention says more about you than it says about your child.
If every time your teen shares a story that happened to them, you think they’re lying or exaggerating it can mean two things.
Either you don’t trust them because you have a tendency to lie for attention and you’re projecting it on your child.
Or you don’t give your child the attention they deserve so they feel they need to attract it by inventing incredible stories.
Whether it’s one or the other, you have some work to do into giving them more attention when they talk.
5. Preventing them from becoming independent
You need to let them do some things for themselves. How can they become functioning adults if you never let them try (and fail at first) anything?
They need to be able to make their bed, clean after themselves, cook simple meals, and make laundry by the time they finish secondary school. And the responsibility to teach them is yours.
6. Interrogating them when they come home
There’s nothing more stressful than coming through the door and getting interrogated straight away:
”How was school?
Did you get any tests back?
Do you have homework?
Do you have a test tomorrow? Did you eat your lunch?
Did you speak with Laura? Etc…”
Teenagers are humans too. Like anybody else, after a long stressful day, they long for some me-time to reconnect and relax.
7. Constantly criticizing ans judging them
Teenagers live in a world that is always out to get them. School is the place where they constantly get graded, classified, and put in boxes. Social media is the place where they get evaluated, criticized, and categorized.
Home should be the safe haven where they can relax unwind and not feel they are under constant threat of being judged more.
But often time, parents consider it normal to bad-mouth their children and make them feel inadequate. You continue the critic of their school performance, personal appearance as well as attitude.
8. Saying “no” to everything
When you say “no” to everything, you can be sure your teen is doing it behind your back without asking.
When the rule is “Everything is forbidden.” Then there is no real rule.
9. Responding to everything with anger
Getting angry every time your teen does something wrong is the best way to make them dread having to talk to you. It teaches them deceit and encourages them to lie to you.
Most dangerously, it makes them believe that if they are in trouble or in endanger, you’re not going to help them. They are on their own and need to find a solution and never tell you about it.
10. Being violent with them
Now, this is an extreme example, but I’m afraid it’s more common than most would like to think. Reacting to your teen’s misbehavior with physical violence is teaching them 2 important lessons:
- Getting hit is normal
- Getting out of the parent’s home is urgent
After reading this you might feel quite overwhelmed and I understand. The aim here was not to make you feel bad but to give you an insight into some behaviour you may have and didn’t notice.
The reason it is so important that you identify and correct some of these behaviours is that if your teen disconnect with you, they will connect with someone else.
Humans are social creatures by nature. We need each other. It’s part of our survival instinct.
And the world is full of predators looking for stray young people to use, abuse and discard. You don’t want your child to be a victim of these people.
Better them keeping them inside and locked, you keep them safe with your strong bond. You’re protecting them, effectively, from the dangers lurking.
Does your teen need help? Book your free call and let’s talk about it
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