This is how you can have a more open relationship with your teen

Father having talk with his teen son. Picture: iStock

Why is it so hard to get your teens to open up to you?

Many teenagers are afraid of opening up to their parents and on the other end, parents wish their children would communicate more openly with them. There is a lot that goes on the crazy world of teens- peer pressure, cyber and physical bullying, exposure to drugs, cigarettes and alcohol, teenage pregnancy and many other issues. It can get a bit too much for children to handle and they may want someone to talk to about their experiences.

They might think of approaching you because they feel you may have encountered those same experiences in your teens but because you are the parent, you are older and there is a generation gap, they might have reservations. How do you improve the communication channels between you and your teen?

Why teens find it hard to open up

A lack of communication between parents and teenagers is an age-old issue. Teens fear that their parents may not be discreet if they share something like a personal or sensitive issue. Teens worry that the parent will talk about their private matters over tea or coffee with their colleagues, friends and family. Before they know it, the news has spread like wild fire.

To make matters worse, sometimes the information is distorted along the grapevine of discussions, resulting in embarrassment for the teenager concerned. It is important for parents to respect that information is shared in confidence and therefore, they must refrain from discussing it with friends.

Also Read: How to identify and handle teen suicide

Setting is everything

You set time aside for date night with your partner or husband, so why not do the same with your teen. They will feel special that you have set time aside to be with them.Once a teenager realises that you are focused on them, your relationship and communication channels will prosper. Visit places that you know they are keen to visit or a place that you would like to share with them.

With the outbreak of the Corona virus, this might not be practical as much as possible but you can take walks together or watch a movie together and order in some special treats. If you do this on a regular basis, your teen will also use this time to approach you with issues that are important to them. That is half the battle won.

Actions speak louder than words

Do not postpone your special day out to do other things. Instead, postpone whatever you had planned to support your teenager during a time of crisis. It is vital that your teen knows that you are their number one supporter. The best way to do this is to let your words and actions reassure them that they are your number one priority- no matter what.

Even when your teen has made a mistake or you are disappointed in their actions, continue to support them in a constructive way. Talking about the matter, rather than accusing your teenager will always allow for open discussions.

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