Teenagers: How To Improve Communication With Your Parents
Growing up doesn't mean you can't be close with your parents
As a young person, one of the difficulties of maintaining relationships with your parents lies is the tricky task of balancing the need for privacy and keeping your mom and dad close. As children grow up, they need more space, but parents, as well as youngsters, often find the change in needs, and roles, confusing and challenging. It is essential to use different communication patterns with your parents as you get older, to set boundaries and gain independence, while simultaneously letting your family know you love them.
Understand Your Parents
It can feel very frustrating when parents still try to treat you like a child or insist on knowing your every move. Before biting your mom or dad's head off for asking questions, remember that they are only doing it because they care. See where they are coming from before you react angrily to their demands or questions. When one of your parents asks something that you think is out of line, take a deep breath and remember that they are only asking because they love you. That pause can give you the space to think up a friendly response.
Be (Reasonably) Open
One of the reasons why teens often get into conflict with their parents is that they withdraw or become defensive in response to parents' demands. But your parents are only asking you questions, because they are either interested or worried about you. If you sound like you're being defensive or hiding things from them, they will only badger you all the more. It is better to be upfront, within reason, about your life. Don't lie about little things, because you will only make your parents more suspicious. Instead, tell them about your plans before they even need to ask. Giving them an overview, and skipping the personal details, will help them to trust you more as well as allowing you to maintain your privacy.
It is your right, as a young adult, to start to set boundaries about what is, and is not, acceptable treatment by your parents. Negotiation is a mature way to handle this, with concessions on both sides. Tell your parents that you respect and love them, but that you also need to be allowed to grow into an adult. You should be able to set clear rules about things that they should not reasonably be allowed to do, such as searching your phone, entering your room without knocking or calling your friends behind your back. In turn, you can promise to always let them know if you'll be late coming home, tell them where you're going and who you're with when you go out.
The further you move away from your parents emotionally, the tighter they will try to hold on. While you are growing in the world, and establishing new relationships, friendships and interests, remember to take time out to bond with your parents and do things together. While you may be too old to do some of the things you used to, you can still shoot a few hoops, go on a shopping trip, watch a film together, or just sit down for a cup of coffee and a chat. Use warm words and phrases, talk positively and openly, and remember that you're never too old to give your parents a hug.