Having trouble connecting with your teen? Many parents have this problem, even when they don't have MS. You as a parent with multiple sclerosis, may be particularly vulnerable. Besides your own health problems, you still have to raise your child. Here's a practical set of tips to help by life coach Aurelia Williams.
By Aurelia Williams, Author of Understanding Your Teen
As the parent of a teen, you may long for the days when you could hold your child on your lap and they were eager to talk, laugh, and play with you. Those days may be long gone, but you can still find ways of connecting with your teen. Here are a few tips to make the process easier.
If your teen is having a problem, they may think they are the only one in the world who has ever had that particular problem. Talk to your teen about the situations you experienced as a teen. The clothes and music may have changed, but you still dealt with peer pressure, sex, drugs, and homework. Let them know you understand and will be there for them, if they want to talk about their problem.
Make time for your teen, and express an interest in what they are doing. You don’t need to use this time to lecture them, or even talk. You can simply sit and watch their favorite show or listen to their favorite band. Try not to pass judgment or criticize anything. Just make time to “hang out”. Your teen will appreciate your interest and this will help develop open lines of communication.
It is hard to admit when you are wrong, especially to your children. However, admitting your mistakes, and apologizing if necessary, will strengthen your bond with your child. It will also let them know that it is okay to admit the things they have been wrong about.
They may roll their eyes and shrug whenever you say “I love you”, but they do care, and they like to hear it.
Ask your teen to take a drive with you. You don’t have to have any particular place in mind, just start driving. The simple fact that you are in the car can help open up a conversation, and since you are not looking each other in the eye, it may be easier for your teen to talk to you.
Make a deal with your teen that when you are having a conversation, only one person can speak at a time. If you are speaking, your teen needs to sit and listen. When it is your teen’s turn to speak, show them the same respect and listen to what they are saying.
While your goal is to have a better relationship with your teen, you still need to set boundaries and let them know that you are the parent. Teens may complain about rules, curfews, and chores, but secretly, they like the fact that you care enough to set them in the first place.
Here are two guides to help you reconnect with your teen, so you can help them with the rocky road of being a teenager.
1. Real Life Guidance to Understanding Your Teen shows you how to accept what you can and cannot control in your teen's life, how to cope with mood swings, keeping the lines of communication open.
2. Real Life Guidance to Helping Your Teen in High School includes practical suggestions to help your child find his/her identity, avoid bullies, handle peer pressure and more.
Grab them both to be armed with the easy-to-follow advice on connecting with your teen always at your fingertips. They're available for instant download, which means you can get the help you need any day of the week, even if it's the middle of the night.
Hopefully the article above will help you in connecting with your teen in a way that will be beneficial to you both.