Co-written by: Jennifer Klein (during her teen years, circa 2004)
Back in 2004, when I was teaching a parenting class focused on teenagers, I asked my daughter what she felt were the essential needs of a teenager.
She was 16 at the time.
I believe her wisdom is timeless.
Anything from going to a soccer game, a dance recital or even an after-school event shows that you care about the teen.
These efforts show them that you are interested in not only their life, but their happiness.
Even though they won’t admit it, teens like to hear they are loved by their parents.
If they don’t hear that you love them, they will start to believe you don’t.
Teens are constantly told by adults that what they think and feel doesn’t matter.
Which results in a teen that feels devalued and unimportant because they believe nobody cares about them.
If your teen is telling you something, really listen with curiosity and interest, not judgment and criticism.
This simple act can mean a lot to a teen and is the most meaningful way to show not only that you love them, but that you are grateful that they are your child.
#4: Be Open
Tell your teen important issues in your lives.
A teen knows when something is wrong with his or her parents and feels unimportant when family or private issues are kept from them.
Note: if you feel your teen will worry too much, still tell them just much more gently.
If not, they will still be aware when something’s not right, and not being informed will lead them to worry that the worst will happen.
#5: Believe In Them
Look objectively beyond their imperfections, messy rooms and struggle for power and independence.
Instead, focus on the positive personal qualities they are developing, like courage, confidence, sense of humor, caring for others, wonderful friendship skills, creativity or love of music or dance (probably away from home).
Share with them specific times you have seen their strengths.
Teenagers are their own worst critic. Be their best ally.
How often do you listen to your teenager? When they tell you that you never listen, do you believe them, and try to change? Or brush them off?