Oh, those teenage years. Full of hormones, confused emotions and questionable choices. Guiding your child through this tumultuous time can be quite a challenge, especially when they are stuck at home for long periods of time during a global pandemic. However, it is possible to maintain a loving connection with your teenager, even when you are fighting with them about home-school work.
Try Not to Take it Personally
This is such a difficult thing for parents to do. Their former cuddly, clingy, adoring child has suddenly ditched the loving attitude and decided hugs and kisses are something to be avoided, and that any reasonable requests are an infringement on their human rights. Of course, not every teenager will react to these things in the same way, but generally, hormones are to blame, rather than your ability as a parent. If you are to maintain a connection with your teenager, you need to try and understand why they react the way they do.
That does not mean that your teenager should be allowed to do whatever they want, however. They should always remember that you are the parent, and what you say goes – even if they are not happy about it. Keep age and pandemic-appropriate rules in place and make sure they are always clear on what they are.
Know When to Walk Away
Arguments with teenagers solve very little, since their surge in hormones gives them the ability to shout about nothing until they are blue in the face, and the inability to actually listen to anything you are saying. If things are getting heated – walk away and try again when you have both calmed down. This will also give you a chance to reassess the situation so that you can attempt to reason with your child.
You should also know when to apologize. You are only human, and sometimes you will definitely get it wrong. Apologizing to your teen will validate their sense of right and wrong. They will appreciate your honesty and have a little more respect for you because of it.
Treasure Every Good Minute
Make sure to heap praise on your teen whenever they deserve it. They might shrug it off or pretend they don’t really care what you think, but deep down they still crave your approval. The more you show it, the more they will strive to achieve it.
It is also important to try and keep things fun and lighthearted as much as possible. This is a difficult time for everyone, including your teen, so attempting to keep the spirits lifted is key. A little laughter will destress you both and strengthen that bond so that it becomes unbreakable.
Being a teenager is tough at the best of times, but having a parent that is understanding and fun will make that transition to adulthood during a lockdown a little bit easier. Clear boundaries and appropriate penalties for mistakes might mean you are out of favour for a while, but they will also provide your child with a sense of security and responsibility. All of this will ensure you are able to maintain a bond with your child through one of the toughest of times.