How to be the perfect support to teenagers for them to thrive

12 May 2020

How to be the perfect support to teenagers for them to thrive

Let me rephrase that: How to be the perfect support to your teenager for both of you to thrive. The emphasis should be on thrive, rather than merely survive.

Yes, on some days it will feel as if your teenager(s) are testing and trying you. But keep in mind, as Wikipedia explains so succinctly, teenage rebellion is a part of human development in young adults in order for them to develop an identity independent from their parents or family and a capacity for independent decision-making.

Also remember that because of all the changes in their life, teenagers often feel as if they are on an emotional roller coaster while you might perceive it as nothing but moodiness.

  1. Develop positive family communication
    Communication between parents and teenagers are often fraught with problems. The way in which parents communicate with teenagers should change in such a way that it reflects the new boundaries in their relationship. Do not disregard the fact that teenagers become increasingly independent as they grow older.
    Set aside time to have a meaningful conversation with your teenager on a regular basis. Encourage them to talk about what is going on in their life.
    Listen to yourself: if you always tend to moan/shout/give orders, it might be time to think before you speak.
  2. Be curious about your teenager
    Develop a genuine interest in what makes your teenager ‘tick’.
    Not only will this boost their self-esteem and self-confidence but it will most likely lead to a fulfilling relationship between the two of you for the rest of your lives.
    It will also ensure that you never reach the point where you feel as if you do not know your own child anymore, as happens to so many parents of teenagers.
  3. Allow your teenager to develop his/her own identity
    Teenagers need to establish their own identity so that they can learn to move through the world in their own way.
    Do not act with surprise, anger or hurt when this process of individuation becomes evident. Embrace this personal development that leads to happy adulthood.
    In later years your teenager will be very grateful for that.
  4. Keep calm – don’t judge
    Refrain from judging too quickly.
    Create an emotionally safe place for your teenager to freely discuss issues and ask advice without judgement. This will positively affect their personal growth and development.
    A rule to follow: Treat your teenager more like an adult than like a child.
  5. Embrace the now
    Teenagers generally live in the now. They have a certain zest for life and often fear that they are missing out on whatever is going on that they are not part of.
    Tap into this teenage vivacity, embrace the now and do something fun with the teenager(s) in the house. Get active, play a game, go to a play, musical or concert – as long as you let them decide what it is going to be.
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