Spend time with your teenagerThis simple task can actually be quite difficult to do, as your teenager may be keener to spend time with her friends than with you. Be prepared to be flexible and try connecting at mealtimes or at bedtime. You can also spend time together when you’re giving her a lift somewhere – although make sure she doesn’t turn you into a taxi!
Respect her privacy.Give her the same amount of space you expect for your self - knock before entering her bedroom. If she’s become the black-hole of information, try to resist sifting through her personal belongings for clues. Don’t read her diary, don’t pump her for information.
Share your interests.She’s just starting to form her own tastes and opinions so try to listen to her favourite music, or watch her favourite films without being too critical. Turn up to her sport or activities, and be supportive no matter how well or poorly she plays. Try sharing one of your interests with her as you would with an adult friend.
Listen.Try to resist giving advice s/he hasn’t asked for, or an opinion which s/he hasn’t sought. Your teen doesn’t always need you to ‘fix’ everything for him or her, so if s/he does have a problem, ask what s/he’s going to do. Not only will this will help him or her develop problem-solving skills, s/he may actually ask for your advice.
Show your love.Even when times feel a bit rough with your teenager, s/he always needs to feel loved. Tell him or her that you love them often (without being suffocating) and don’t fall out of the habit of hugging your teen. Show him or her you love them by cooking his favourite dinner, or setting aside some time to go to the movies together, or even treating her to a coffee and a muffin.
Make special memories.Childhood is full of special memories, but as your child grows up and their life – and yours – becomes more hectic, it’s easy to overlook the importance of creating special memories together. Celebrate achievements; perhaps have a weekend away together; make sure to include him in family celebrations even when he tells you that the last thing he wants to do on a Saturday night is hang out with the family. Make up a collection of photographs of family and her friends and hang them on her bedroom wall.
Have faith in her.Most teenagers will go through a bit of a wobbly phase, where you’re left wondering where you went wrong, but have faith that they will grow past this and will come back to you a more mature person. If s/he make mistakes, have faith that s/he will do better in the future.
Leave the door open.No matter what goes down between you, make sure your teenager knows that you will always respond to him or her. Never become so angry or frustrated with him or her that you won’t talk to them – if you shut down communication, you’ll never know what’s going on in their world.
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