Several weeks ago a friend who is struggling to find a way to get along with her 14 year old daughter asked me how I coped with raising a teenager. I told her that my daughter and I got along great during her teen years, and actually had fun together. A look of shock mixed with disbelieve came over her face. She asked, “So what is your secret?” Having never given much thought to the subject, I decided to ask my daughter for her thoughts. We came up with three reasons why we got along even during the terrible teens;
Communication- Widen the door of communication with your teenager. Although there may be times when they are tell you things you don’t want to hear, listen anyway. Encourage them to open up and talk. Reassure your teen that they can talk to you about anything. Your teen needs to feel comfortable talking to you. Don’t trivialize their thoughts and emotions. It is amazing how the most trivial issues become so major in the mind of a teenager.
Mutual respect: Expect respect from your teenager, and make sure you respect your teen. Teens can be very private and secretive, it is important to respect their right to privacy. Snooping around in their room, backpack or purse, may not lead you to find evidence of wrong doing; but it will absolutely lead to your child feeling violated and disrespected.
Honesty: Be as honest and truthful with your teen as possible. I don’t mean that you need to share every detail of your life, but when you do share, share honestly. No one is perfect; don’t lead your teen to believe that you were the perfect teenager. Let them know you can empathize with them.