Teenage years can be difficult for many families. Young people may develop ideas, values and beliefs that are different to those of their parents. This is part of the normal process of moving towards independence. Parents may struggle with how much independence they should allow their children at different ages and in different circumstances. Each young person is an individual and needs different advice. Communication with teenagers is different from communicating with younger children and can cause conflict and stress. If you follow some simple tips, it may help to improve communication with your teenager. However, always seek professional advice if you are concerned about your family relationships:
- Listen more than you speak – remember that we are all given two ears and one mouth. This is to remind us that we should spend twice as much time listening as talking. This is especially important when talking to teenagers, who may tell us more if we are silent long enough to give them the opportunity.
- Make time to spend together – teenagers are often busy with school, friends and other interests, but you can have a conversation with them over breakfast and dinner. Offer to take them to or pick them up from places; this will provide other opportunities for conversations.
- Give them privacy – teenagers need their own space. For example, knock before you go into their room. Showing courtesy can go a long way.
- Keep up with their interests – listen to their music, watch their television shows with them and turn up to their sports practice sessions. Continue to take an active interest in their life.
- Be a loving parent – adolescence is a time when young people often struggle with their changing sense of identity and need to feel loved. Tell them often. Demonstrate your love using whatever physical contact they are comfortable with. Celebrate their achievements, forgive their mistakes, listen to them when they have a problem and show interest in how they plan to solve it. Support them in their problem solving. Feeling included and special is vital for every young person’s sense of positive self-esteem.
- Have fun – make time for leisure and laughter. Good feelings help to build good rapport.
Accessible 24/7, your FAA WorkLife Solutions Program offers many resources and services to help you and your family. Options available through the program include concierge services to help with everyday events needing your time and attention, child and elder care options, legal and financial services, in-person counseling, and much more. Call your program at 1-800-234-1327, TTY Users: 1-800-456-4006, or log on to www.MagellanHealth.com/Member to begin accessing these services today.