Parent-Teen: Eliminating the Gap

When it comes to relationships, we all are challenged by our loved ones in one way or another. At times they make us feel so vulnerable that it becomes hard to entertain our ego in order to please them.

Parenting, as we know, is one of the toughest, critical, and sentimental relationship. Parents have their own ways to provide love, care, and affection to their children. They deal with their anger, resentment, and tantrums in their own ways. However, every individual is different from another. Applying the same set of rules and regulations to the entire pack might mess up things and make it more complicated.

Parents are always considered as the primary influencers. We all agree that every relationship has a great impact on each other. To make a relationship successful, enormous amount of effort is required from both sides. Therefore, the first step towards making a positive change is to acknowledge if you are unhappy and be open to resolve the conflicts. All you need to do is, change the way you’ve been thinking and acting. It is necessary for parents to know their destructive thinking patterns, the behaviors and acts that deteriorate a parent-child relationship.

1. Avoid Keeping Score
The universal truth is that humans tend to make mistakes. Teens think that parents love keeping scores of their screw-ups. They believe no matter how much effort they make, their parents will never forget about it, which is not the case. Parents may remind their children about the times they went wrong and they do it because they believe this might be helpful for the child to make them realize their mistakes and improve it. However, parents do not realize that it is counter productive. It is suggested that parents only need to provide feedback on the issue at hand and they should not bring past screw-ups.

2. Catch Them Being Good
Mostly parents give attention to their child when he makes a mistake. When a child gets hit with the criticism again and again, he starts internalizing the negative criticism and begins to accept it as his nature. Parents need to give constructive criticism and more positive input that boosts up his self-esteem and confidence. Such as, appreciate him for every tiny kind deed he does by telling him that he is smart, intelligent, and caring and that will do the job. When you give a positive feedback, your child feels more confident and he will adopt those qualities. It is like programming a computer; if you add healthy data, you will get healthy results, if you add unhealthy data, you get bad results. So, try attending their good behaviors more and appreciate them genuinely for all the good things they do. Finding fault in our stars as we say, is a nasty game, it shatters a child’s confidence and the long-term results are disastrous. So, catch them being good and ignore their mistakes when the mistakes are not causing any harm to your child or anyone else.

3. Taking Responsibility for Influencing Your Teen
Parents are a great influence on their teens. Every child is the product of the environment and culture he’s brought up in which leaves a great impact on child’s overall health, thinking patterns and behaviors. They are taught how to respond and react to a certain situation. Parents need to take a proactive role while providing necessary guidance to their child. They must enhance their parenting skills to nurture their child by working with them, as a parent knows his child better than anyone else. As time passes and your teen matures, do not leave him to fight with the hardships of the world alone, rather share your life experiences with him which contribute to his development. Nurture your teen and shape him to become the best sort of person by being a positive influence on him because your teen will always look upon you.

4. Allow Healthy Conversations
Crucial conversations and conflicts are important as you move on in life. However, things might get complicated if they are not done in a civil and non-hurtful way. It is important to maintain and respect each other’s boundaries. Parents need to learn to deal all the crucial matters in a respectful way and try discussing the matters one by one instead of bombarding the problems at one time. It is suggested to keep the duration of the conversations between 45 minutes to 1 hour because it might cause frustration among the parties. It is better to discuss one issue at a time and avoid jumbling up things. 

5. Don’t Give Up
There’s a saying, “Get to them before they get to you”. Parents need to know that teenagers are always looking for their parents’ constant support because they are afraid to face the hardships of life alone. Teens however, have a very intimidating way of connecting with their parents. They push them away to bring them closer because they don’t want to ask for attention directly so they find out ways to be close. They seek love and for that, they show defiance. Parents have to deal with their kids smartly and they must learn to assess the need behind their defiance. All they seek is love, care, and attention.

Author: Arooba Laraib
Clinical & Counseling Psychologist
Family First Institute

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