In this day and age it is VERY important to have an open and honest relationship with your children. You should start MUCH earlier than teens. However, having good communication with your teenager is vital to protecting them and properly guiding them.
I believe we should be COMPLETELY honest with them and share OUR own mistakes that we made…and the consequences of them. By being honest with them, they see us as more than “just Moms.” They see that we were where they are at. We remember the pressures and difficulties.
Teenagers go through a LOT. Emotionally. Physically. Mentally. Socially. Spiritually. They NEED to have a place for healthy and honest communication. And, it MUST come from their parents.
I am happy to say that I have a GREAT relationship with my teenage daughter. She tells me everything and I am careful to value her and what she has to say. I have had this with her early on. I MADE it happen. I share with her and allow her to share with me.
Our communication is so healthy that she even understands when I say no. She may not be happy or agree, but she handles it VERY well. She understands I love her and only have her best interest at heart.
Because we have healthy, honest and open communication.
If your teenager is not communicating with you. Or, maybe you never had good communication with YOUR Mother. Then you need to learn. You need to BEGIN now. It is NEVER too late to have healthy, honest and open communication with you children. Never.
How can you Start having good Communication with your Teenager?
You can start by using the following tips. Remember, communication is a vital ingredient to ANY relationship. If you want to have healthy relationships, you MUST have healthy, honest and open communication.
Moreover, it is our responsibility to TEACH and TRAIN our children to be well balanced adults. Adults that KNOW how to communicate their feelings and understand what healthy communication and relationships are made of. The BEST way to teach our children is to MODEL it before them!
OK, on to some ideas to help you communicate better with your teenager.
Pray. God wants to be a part of EVERY aspect if your life…including parenting. ASK Him to help you. He will.
Tell the Truth. Tell your kids about your boo boos. You are not doing them any favors by acting like you never did anything wrong. They will just feel like failures and will feel like they could NEVER measure up.
Eye Contact. You know this one. Good eye contact is a very important ingredient to proper communication. Look at them when you are talking to them and look at them when they are talking to you.
Be Safe. When they tell you something shocking, don’t pull a “Mom” on them. Yes, you ARE Mom. BUT…they need more than Mom. First, you build trust, then you can pull a gentle Mom. Meaning, you listen, then you share your thoughts on the matter like you would a friend. Keep in mind, you ARE their MOM. However, you must build trust and have a relationship with them beyond their life with you. The teenage years are a great opportunity to build a friendship with your children. You will not have authority over them any longer once they grow up.
Listen. Sometimes you just need to listen. Do not offer any advice. Just listen.
Waiting Period. When they throw a question out there that is difficult to answer and/or need to be discussed with Dad, make a “waiting period” rule. What do I mean? OK, we have a 48 hour waiting period for topics or questions I cannot answer right away. For example, if she wants to go do something with some friends, she cannot ask me and expect to hear a yes. I need to think, check my calendar, see who is going, etc.
Boundaries. You need to set them and they do as well. Boundaries MUST be respected. You should NOT read your child’s diary UNLESS you feel they are in danger. Would you like someone reading your personal thoughts? I do not read my daughters diary. However, I would IF and only IF I thought she was in danger. This is only one example of boundaries.
Value Them. Do not make everything an issue. Take them seriously. Listen to the big stuff and the “man, this video game is frustrating,” “he has a cute butt,” “we didn’t win the football game,” or the “I hate my hair” stuff. Don’t be nutty. LOL. Let them be teenagers. Let them share without having to be constantly corrected. Also, let them SEE you listening even when they are only communicating the fluffy stuff. They KNOW if you are REALLY listening or just half listening. Make them a priority.
Boys need Dad. Understand that communicating with a teenage boy is MUCH different. They can only go so deep with you. There are things that ONLY Dad, as a man can share. They need to hang out. Throw the foot ball. You know, “guy stuff.” So, encourage healthy communication with your teenage son and his father. If you are a single Mom, maybe your brother, a close friend, or pastor would be willing to take the time to build a relationship with your son. PRAY about it. Make sure they are trustworthy. Pray some more and go with your gut.
Daughters. Daughters need to have Mom time. They need to have a beauty day, go for coffee, lunch, paint pottery or whatever you and your daughter can enjoy. My teenage daughter covets and cherishes our time together. We have “Our Night.” Daughters need Daddy too. Daddy needs to take her on dates to teach her how she should be treated. She needs to be able to communicate with him so she will be able to communicate with her husband. Obviously, she will not share her “woman” stuff with him However, she can tell him about that cute guy at school, or how she cannot figure out something. You know.
Put forth effort and get to know your teenager. Start younger if you can. However, KNOW that it is NEVER too late to begin to have healthy, honest and open communication with your teenagers.
Copyright © Lara Velez, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved
Do you have some tips or struggles to share?? Post your comments! I would love to hear form you! :D