The secret to
having kids look forward to spending time with mom and dad lies in treating
teens as if they are already adults. When you accept teens as they are and
simultaneously bring them to the level of adults, you create a friendly meeting
ground. Below are seven ways to help you enjoy your teenage children.
Demonstrate your interest by completely hearing what your teens have to say.
Listen without speaking. Give occasional encouraging nods and sounds. Resist
the impulse to dismiss feelings or give unsolicited advice. Be interested in
their lives without taking over.
Check in periodically with your teen and talk about what's on his or her mind.
Initiate, but don't force it; leave the door open to take advantage of those
times when teens are ready to open up. Talking to them right then, whenever
possible, will show them that you really do care. This will strengthen your
Teens, like most individuals, want parents to respect their views, even if
their parents don't agree with them. Realize that you can acknowledge another's
viewpoint without making it right or wrong. With acknowledgment it's much more
likely that your son or daughter will want to hear your ideas.
Help your teen understand the reasoning behind your requests. Stay away from
commands. Make sure your rules are age-appropriate. Offer choices and be
willing to negotiate based on each child's maturity level and the specific
situation at hand. One size does not fit all.
If your kids want to spend part of their holiday time with their friends, let
them. Your teen's friends are important to him or her as your friends are to
you. There's no need for feeling competitive; don't take it personal. It isn't!
Stay focused on what you like about your teens. Make meaningful appreciative
statements. It doesn't have to be something BIG. Say something like, "Even
though you had a lot on your mind, you took the time to call. I really
appreciate that." Make sure mean it; kids can spot when you're being phony.
Comment on what is being said without evaluating everything. If you begin to
feel uncomfortable, say "Uh-huh," and keep listening. Don't get furious, get
curious. Use a collaborative approach with your teen. Your support allows your
son or daughter to stop and think things through more clearly.
If you took the time to read this article, chances are that
you love your kids and realize the importance of modeling preferred behavior.
How do you do that? Be good company. This year, consider giving the gift of