6 Ways To Foster A Healthy Relationship With Your Teen

The teenage years are a tumultuous time for most families. This stage offers new challenges, as well as the opportunity to develop deeper and more meaningful family relationships. The key to success is communication and mutual respect. If you’re struggling to maintain a healthy relationship with your adolescent child, give these steps a try.

  1. Open your ears. The main complaint many teenagers have about their parents is that they don’t listen. Although you may not always agree with your child, it’s important to give them space to speak their mind. They may not necessarily be looking for solutions or advice in response to their problems, but just being present and hearing them out will help you form a closer bond.
  2. Share a hobby. As your child grows into an adolescent, they’ll most likely develop new interests that don’t necessarily align with your own. Try to take an active interest in the things your child enjoys doing and join in as much as you can. If your teenage son develops a passion for camping or hiking, arrange a family trip so that you can be part of the thing that he enjoys.
  3. Set aside time for parenting ‘dates.’ The word date might make your teenager run for the hills, but one on one time together will give you the chance to catch up and get to know one another better. Set up a block of time each week that’s dedicated to each other and be consistent with sticking to that routine.
  4. Treat them like young adults. Though teenagers aren’t yet fully-fledged adults, they are no longer really children. Treat your adolescent accordingly. Try not to speak down to them, and set firm boundaries for your home while acknowledging that they may have their own views to offer.
  5. Acknowledge their strengths. If your teen has been giving you a difficult time at home, it’s easy to get caught up in negativity and discipline. Don’t forget to acknowledge the positive attributes your teenager exhibits, and remind them on a daily basis that you see and appreciate their strengths. Focusing on the positives can do wonders for a teenager’s self-esteem.
  6. Ask for help. Sometimes, family relationships do require a little extra work to succeed. If you’re really struggling with your relationship with your teenager, don’t be afraid to reach out for more support. Family counselling with a qualified psychologist can be a wonderful way to re-build your relationship in a safe space.

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Heidi Smith is the principal psychologist at Aresolution. Heidi has over 12 years experience in counselling. Heidi is passionate about working with couples, families and individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder. In couple counselling Heidi has a particular interest in helping couples manage conflict and recover from affairs.