It's Valentine's Day weekend, and how is your relationship with your teenager? Chilling as the cold frosty weather outside? Or is it warm and cheery that comes from the comfort of peace and tranquility?
Is your home filled with contention or harmony? Not that any special holiday is needed, but Valentine's Day can be a great time to begin a new with your teenager. Here are some ideas on how to share Valentines' Day with your teenager:
1. Say you love them
Many teenagers know that their parents love them, but may not hear it enough. The teenage years can be filled with joys and frustration for all involved. When conflict exists, a simple affirmation of your love can go a long way with your teenager. Although there is nothing like the spoken word, a note expressing your love for your teenager can also be meaningful.
2. Respect them
It is no secret that teenagers can be disrespectful to their parents. Yelling, talking back, and even derogatory physical expressions are common ways they show disrespect. The temptation part is to not reciprocate.
Respect occurs when you feel honored by another person regardless of a conflict or differenting opinion. Some common ways of showing respect can be maintaining eye contact when talking, stopping what you are doing to listen to what they are saying, and avoiding name calling when arguing with another person.
3. Listen to them
Listening is so hard to do, not just for parents and teenagers. In the rush of what we want to say, our ears seem to take a backseat to our mouths. Yet, a person can feel very validated when another person is taking the time to listen, not just hear them.
Try taking some steps to be intentional on listening to your teenager. You know you are listening to the other person when you are not thinking about what you are going to say next!
4. Hold them accountable
Teenagers would love nothing more than to have complete freedom, without responsibilities, and no rules to live by. Where do I sign up for that lifestyle!
Unfortunately, that is not real life. As a parent, you do a big service to your teenager by holding the accountable for their actions with reasonable consequences. It will teach them responsibility and help them achieve the independence which they think they are entitled.
5. Communicate with them
One great way to keep informed of what is happening with your teenager is to communicate with them. Communication is simply an exchange of ideas between two people. It does not mean there is an agreement. In fact, often there is a discrepancy between the two parties, yet they are able to discuss the matter in a calm, rational manner.
6. Forgive them
Parenting a teenager is difficult, and it can be a challenge to any sane rational human being. It becomes easy for anger and resentment to set it. However, this only leads to further disruption to your parent-child relationship.
Forgiveness is essential in a successful parenting relationship. Being able to love them where they are at, warts and all, and let go of resentment can be challenging. But, it can be the key to a closer relationship with your teenager.
As Valentine's Day approaches, what can you do to show your love to your teenager? Do you need to say those three important words of "I love you?" Do you need to implement more love and respect in your parenting relationship?
How about trying to hold them more accountable for the decisions he / she makes? Are they any areas where forgiveness needs to be played out more? Take the first step to improving the parenting relationship with your teenager!