It doesn’t matter if you and your teenager get along well or have challenges, it’s important to show them that you care, that you are there to help them through difficult times, and that you will always be there for them.
These are the four things you should remember when talking to your teenager about their ‘how are you doing?’ and how to show them that they are loved.
1. Encourage them to express their feelings
Find ways to keep in touch with your teenager. Ask your teen how their day went and what they’ve been up to. You could invite them to help you prepare dinner. This will allow you to have a conversation about their day.
Remind them that they are important to you and that you care about what they think and feel. They will feel more comfortable sharing their feelings and thoughts with you if they have a few words of encouragement.
It is important that you acknowledge and accept any emotions that they may be feeling, even if this feels uncomfortable. You can reply with “I understand”, or “it sounds like a challenging situation” if they are open to it.
It is easy to overlook the things that your teen does that you don’t like. You can also praise your teen for doing something well, even if it is something as simple as cleaning up after themselves.
2. Support them by taking the time
You can work together to create new routines and daily goals. It is possible to fit home chores in around school work, or set a goal like getting your homework done before dinner.
Adolescence is about independence! Give your teenager the space and time they need to be independent. Space is an important part of growing up.
You can find a few ways to support your teen in taking breaks from schoolwork, housework or any other activity they are involved in to allow them to enjoy the things that they love. Talk to your teen about any frustrations and help them find solutions. Do not try to dictate what your teen should do.
3. Together, we can work through conflict
Try to listen to your teenager’s opinions and to resolve conflicts calmly. Everyone gets stressed out!
Talking about an issue with your teen while angry is not a good idea. Take a deep breath, calm down and walk away. You can discuss it with your teen later.
Avoid power struggles. Teens might struggle to control the world right now with limited options and unpredictable circumstances. It can be difficult to understand teens’ desire to take control during difficult times.
Talk to your teenager honestly and openly. You can also let them know that you’re experiencing additional stress. It can help teens understand their feelings by showing them how you handle your difficult emotions.
Take some time to think about how you can help your teen resolve conflict. These reflections can be shared with your teen to help them understand how you are thinking.
4. Take care of yourself
Caregivers have many responsibilities. Caregivers also have to take care of themselves. Self-care can be a great way to model self-care for your teenager.
If you feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to reach out to others for assistance. This is perfectly normal. Talk to someone or a member of your family.
Take time to nurture your relationships. Find a few people with whom you can share your feelings and experience. Spend some time each day with them to talk about how you feel.
You can make time for the things that will help you manage stress. No matter how busy your day may be, it is important to take time for yourself. You can feel refreshed and relaxed by doing the things that you enjoy or taking a few moments off of your day.
You can try different positive coping strategies depending on what works for you. You can exercise, talk with friends, make to-do lists, plan ahead, keep a schedule, reflect on your accomplishments, or do things that you love like dancing, music, or art.