Communicating with Your Teenage Kids
Most parents will agree with me that parenting teenage kids are not the same as parenting infants and toddlers. Teenagers pose a different challenge, especially in this world of openness, connectivity, and modernity. Indeed, life is more complicated now than 20 years ago, before the advent of social networking and skyping.
As a parent of four teenagers, I can relate to many parents who have faced countless teenage issues. Thankfully, traditional ways of parenting remains essential and timely. What are some practical, effective ways to communicate with your teenage kids?
First, get their ideas often. In most family activities, gather your teenage kids and ask for their input, feedback, opinion, or even decision. Not only that you will make them feel good, you will also make them feel responsible. Second, listen more. Teenage kids go through many personal and interpersonal issues. Some of those can be more difficult than others to deal with. Let them talk and never interrupt. Lean forward. Nod your head and show gestures to show your interest.
Third, understand their situations and feelings. Your teenage kids look at their circumstance differently. At this age, they wear a unique set of glasses and therefore they view the world with distinct mind-set. I’m not saying you should never be angry. But when you communicate, choose your words and control your emotions. In general, how they feel depends on how they think. Fourth, set limits and let consequences be known. There are times when your teenage kids will test your resolve. Be firm. Show your authority as a parent. Express your ideas with sincerity and credibility. Let them know the consequences when boundaries are breached. But always err on the side of patience.
How friendly should you be with your teenage kids?
I know, it’s not easy to be both a parent and a friend at the same time. But this is the safest and best route. You can’t just be a parent and remain aloof and uncaring. On the other hand, you can’t simply forget your parenting hat when you try to befriend them.
Joke around. Laugh a lot, just like friends. Reveal your feelings and share your ideas. But if necessary, use the whip of your authority to drive a point.
Do you know the secrets to happiness?
Steve Wickham, a Christian minister and an author wrote, “We are happiest in our human world when we pleasantly accept the fallibility of the people around us because we are continuously reminded of our own fallibility.”
Based on his premise, one of the keys to happiness is to lower our expectations. And to be more accepting of people’s frailties and shortcomings. Also, we should accommodate our own vulnerabilities and weaknesses with warm embrace.
I know. It’s hard to simply accept that we’re not the person we want to project to the outside world. Just like any humans, we want to appear bigger than we really are. In a way, lowering our standard is not “cool,” perhaps too painful for our egos.
But happiness beckons when we know our weakness, our fallibility, and our humanity. Happiness embraces us when we easily forgive ourselves just as we let go of other’s demons.
Another way to find contentment is through unconditional surrender. According to Dr. Sydney Chhabra, a seasoned psychologist, “When you learn to surrender, you cease trying to control others. You stop fighting and resisting this vast, powerful universe and go with the natural flow.”
Very true! Being a control freak poses more harm than good. Being in control simply means being fearful of unpredictability and spontaneity.
When we let go of our fears and anger, of our past mistakes, of our tendency to be always right, we develop an inner sense of comfort. Also when we surrender our concerns and worries to the higher power, we begin to claim the authority, the peacefulness, the love that left us when we were trying hard to be in control.
Indeed, life is happy and fun when the unknown serves as a backdrop while the Divine Hand leads the way and takes us to the unforgettable journey of a lifetime.