Teenagers are volcanoes of emotions. Their hearts, minds, and bodies are all at internal odds, causing a war of feelings that overflow into their everyday lives and interactions. This can lead teens to becoming withdrawn, angsty, angry, and very emotional. And sometimes, it might feel like those emotions are negatively directed at you, the parent. Fortunately, there are ways to connect with your emotional, angsty teenager without opening up a can of negatives and backlashes.
Open Your Heart to Conversation without Judgements
Teenagers often feel that their peers, friends, families, and the world in general, will judge them for their choices—regardless of what those choices are. The trick to making a worthwhile connection is to listen and be attentive. Open your heart and mind to conversation, really pay attention to what they have to say, and avoid judgements or ridicule. Sure, some problems might seem like mountains from mole hills, but those issues are important to them. For those times when conversations is harder to come by, snag some digital transcription equipment that allows your teen to express their thoughts, journal-style, in real time.
Cook, Spend Time Together, Connect—Keep That Bond Going
When you establish that family bond, it’s something you feel. So, keep it going. Cook together, spend time watching movies, doing crafts, or even doing chores together, have long and meaningful, or short and silly conversations—remember to connect. These moments are the saving graces for teenagers when they feel the world is closing in on them.
You CAN Be a Friend AND a Great Parent at the Same Time
You’ve probably heard hundreds of people saying to never be a friend to your kids. However, you can be both. It’s a challenge, but possible. You simply have to establish boundaries as a friend and a great parent. Sure, you will listen and love, but at the end of the day, what you say goes because you know best for your family.
Usually, teenagers are upset over minor things, like rejection from a crush, bad grades, or a horrible hair day. These are normal things. However, there are some things that aren’t normal—such as severe bullying—either online or in real-life, suicidal or violent tendencies, dramatic mood shifts that go to both extremes, or a complete shutdown of all communication. If your teenager expresses hurt, shame, guilt, or other mega signs of major depression, you should step in. Seek professional help. Sometimes a caring parent means the difference between choosing life or death.