A BLOG FOR PARENTS WHO WANT TO LEARN HOW TO NAVIGATE THE TEEN YEARS AND NOT JUST SURVIVE BUT THRIVE!
Since parenting technically doesn't come with an owners manual and a handy trouble shooting section this means there are bound to be mistakes. Here are a few common mistakes I have seen, and heard, through my work with teens. I hope reading these here might help you avoid them or maybe just find new ways to interact with your teen that is more likely to help you connect on a deeper level.
1. Oversharing/Over Identifying
One of the most common things I hear from teens is how they feel their parents overshare or over identify in an effort to empathize with their teen. The desire to share and empathize with your teen is strong because it brings up your own past and the pain/success that you experienced. The issue here is teens often need to feel unique and have their experiences validated. Feeling heard by those whom they choose to share with is necessary before they will be open to hearing what wisdom you might have to share or before they are willing to ask for your experiences/advice.
Teens often talk about feeling like their parents don’t believe in their abilities and that they don’t trust their judgement. It’s hard to give them a little space and freedom because we have the wisdom and foresight to see where things can go horribly wrong, but this is also a great opportunity to for both of you to learn and grow. This does not mean allowing your teen to make very big, life changing mistakes, but it does mean allowing them to learn things with the help of some natural consequences. Giving them this space to make choices also gives them the message that you trust them, that they can come to you if the have any issues along the way, and therefore increases their self-esteem and confidence.
3. Unrealistic Expectations
Teens often discuss feeling overwhelmed by parental expectations, whether spoken outright or unspoken. This is where knowing what is developmentally appropriate for a teen comes in handy and keeps you from becoming frustrated with your teen. Knowing what your teen is capable of regarding social skills, mental capacity, and decision making skills allows you to be more realistic with your expectations. Realistic expectations of your teen then leads to more opportunities for success which then leads to higher self-esteem and confidence in their abilities.
4. Not Meeting your teen where they are.
Sometimes we get caught up in where we want a teen to be or where we see them in the future that we forget to pay attention to where they are right now. Meeting your teen where they are is about taking into account where they are based on their development and what their interests are. Knowing this before engaging with them then leads to more positive and meaningful interactions which in turn strengthen your relationship and increase the possibility of turning to you when they need it most.
Click on the button below to grab my FREE Tip Sheet for Active Listening and Deeper Understanding when communicating with your teens!