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How to Get Through to Your Teens

May 23, 2024
Parenting Tips
How to Get Through to Your Teens

Parents from all walks of life have one thing in common–their teens will dumbfound them.

It’s like one day, your child is an angel-eyed toddler, and the next, they’re a pimply-faced emotional wrecking ball you hardly recognize.

Rest assured that this, too, shall pass. Using our tips and tricks below, you and your teen will get through it with fewer battles. Here’s what you should know:

Preparing for Adulthood

Your teenager’s hormones prepare them (and you) for leaving the nest. Those unstable moods, rebellious actions, and frustrations make saying “so long” easier.

Understandably, both you and your teen are stressed during this time. They’re trying to spread their wings. You’re trying to guide them, so they know where to go and the best way to get there.

Can you, your teen, these big emotions and even bigger life changes co-exist in a peaceful home? Can you raise a responsible and respectful young adult despite their bad attitude?

Our professional tips will make life with a teen easier. First, let’s look at the one critical piece to make it all work.

Understanding

Raising teens calls for a big heap of understanding. Remember what it was like when you were their age.

They are learning how to express themselves. They are going through big changes, feeling things they don’t always have the vocabulary or courage to say. Sometimes, their expressions come out the wrong way, at the wrong time, and on the wrong person.

They are stressed. They juggle demanding schoolwork, fitting in with peers, extracurricular activities, and after-school jobs. Their mental endurance for dealing with a constant barrage of life coming at them fast flounders. No wonder the little things can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

They are trying to develop their identities, independence, and autonomy. Rules, routines, and demands quickly conflict with that.

They are between a rock and a hard place at times. We ask them to step up their responsibility. Yet, we tell them exactly what those responsibilities should be and how they should be done. They feel powerless.

Empathy and understanding can help you balance the parent and the friend you need to be to your young adult. It can help you and your teen can have a healthier, happier relationship.

Build Rapport

Imagine you work for a boss who only interacts with you when you’ve done something wrong or when they need to give orders. How do you think that would affect your morale?

Would you like to work for such a boss? Would you be motivated to impress them? Would you feel like they valued you?

That’s often how the parent-teen relationship is–the face time we give them is full of commands and scolding. To break through their tough exteriors, we must first strengthen our relationships. To do that, you must work on your communication, make the most of your time together, show interest in them, and demonstrate respect.

Communication

As with that theoretical boss, if all you do is give commands and scoldings, your teen isn’t going to like or respect you. Being likable and respectable is high on the list of importance when it comes to getting through to your teen.

Treat your teen the way you want to be treated. Make sure your communication is a two-way street. Spend as much time (if not more) listening than you do talking at your teen.

Avoid interrupting what your child is saying to get your two cents in. Also, get out of the habit of trying to give advice. Offer a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and a supportive hand, but give advice infrequently.

Train yourself to notice the good things they do and praise them for it. They finally put their dirty clothes in the hamper without being asked. Let them know how appreciative you are.

Quality Time

It’s easy to vilify a stranger. Don’t be a stranger to your teen.

As a parent (especially a divorced parent), you are super busy with work and errands. However, you must learn to stop and smell the roses.

Find ways to work smarter instead of harder. Technology is a great place to start. You can find various apps for divorced parents that make managing your co-parenting tasks quicker and easier.

Remember that the future is uncontrollable. You are only promised the present.

Devote a small portion of your time together to being totally in the moment with them. Create quality time through a shared hobby, like hiking or cooking.

Show Interest in Their Interests

Show interest in what they are interested in. It’s an excellent way to demonstrate you value their interests and individuality.

Try playing one of their video games or skateboarding with them. They’ll start to see you as friendly and approachable, which is good. Also, you’ll expose your vulnerabilities–your humanity and humility–by letting them teach you something.

Show Respect

You won’t always receive respect from your teen, but you can always model the behavior for them. By watching you, they’ll learn to give it to others in difficult situations.

Choose Your Battles Wisely

Your teen will do all kinds of things that make you cringe, from their lack of personal hygiene to the music they listen to. You shouldn’t make a big deal out of most of it.

If you argue with your teen over everything, they will assume none of your arguments are that important. Learn to only take issue with the big stuff and not sweat the small stuff.

Set Boundaries and Consequences Together

In fact, take some time to establish rules and practices with your teen. Let them help decide the household rules and boundaries. Also, let them help choose the consequences of breaking the rules.

On that note, there’s no better teacher than a natural consequence. Let your teen experience the consequences of poor choices as long as those consequences aren’t life-threatening.

This is a great time to work on the family budget together. They’ll learn to work for what they want. You can use a co-parenting expense tracker to compare your income to expenses.

Model Behavior

You don’t have to be a perfect parent to raise a happy and healthy teenager. You just have to commit daily to modeling the behavior you wish to see.

If you mess up, own up to it and apologize like you’d like to see your teen do. If you want your teen to talk more respectfully, speak to them respectfully. To be on friendly terms, you must be a good friend.

The teen years are stressful for everyone. Using these tips, you will get through it and come out stronger on the other side.

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