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Mind speaks: How to stay connected with your adolescent

Either we have experienced ourselves or we have witnessed the challenges of teenage parenting. In today’s social environment, adolescents are bombarded with all kind of information and their struggle is not limited to their hormonal changes and career expectations but to every day’s peer pressure, information bombardment from social media, TV and the internet. In such conditions, today’s parents are finding it difficult to stay connected with their kids now and then. Here are some vital parenting tips for parents to stay connected with their adolescent.

1. Emphasise on your child’s interests

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Many times it has been witnessed that parents do confront their adolescent on unfamiliar interests (computer games, music, friends), but either they end up criticising or simply ignoring, treating it as one more difference that is setting them apart.

Instead, parents could choose to bridge the difference by asking the adolescent if he /she could help them to love and appreciate the music they are listening, or if they can teach them how they can play the computer game?

Now, not only does the difference become a vehicle for connection, but it does so in an esteem-filling way for an adolescent.

2. Try to avoid generalization while having discussions with your teenager

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At times when parents need to address some issues and concerns with their adolescents, these discussions end up into arguments and emotional outbursts. Remember selection of the right language is the key to making these discussions fruitful and effective for the teenager.

Generally, what happens during a parent and teenager discussions is that the parent tends to use abstract terms like ‘you are irresponsible ’, ‘you are careless’, ‘you are inconsiderate’, etc. These terms come from the parent’s frustration and emotional pain and more than doing good, these terms insult the teenager and make them more defensive.

Instead, parents can state their complaint by objectively describing their cause of concern. Like, “we need to talk, how you will keep yourself safe if you want to attend the party, every parent in the city today concerned about his/her child’s safety from drugs and criminals, and we are no exception”.

By Shivani Misri Sadhoo

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Counsellor, Psychologist and Founder, Saarthi Counselling Services

Shivani Misri Sadhoo is a psychologist based in Delhi. She is a certified relationship counsellor with specialised training and experience in the field of marital problems, relationship difficulties, child and adolescent issues, stress and anxiety. Shivani can be reached at saarthiforlife@gmail.com.

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