Most of the time, when children step into teenage, your own children may seem like total strangers to you. Yes, there are fair chances and these chances increase if you, as parents, have not been able to make your bond strong, open, trustworthy, and respectful with your children. Trying to strengthen your connect with your teenage child is not something that can be achieved overnight or with a click of fingers.
You may think that you know all about your child, but it may not be true. And you may be in for a shock when you come to know that your teenager is seeing someone as his/her love interest. Now, this word Love in itself is very complex and has different connotations for each person.
Love is complex. It is a mix of emotions, behaviors, and beliefs associated with strong feelings for that someone other in a relationship.
Love is complex. A mix of emotions, behaviors, and beliefs associated with strong feelings of affection, protectiveness, warmth, and possessiveness for another person. So, now how to break the ice with your teenager about his/her love life.
The way you as a parent find it hard to strike that conversation about love and sex with your teenager; they also are at loggerheads especially when it comes to this subject called love. To break the ice:
- Communicate with ‘No’ Pre-fixed Agenda: The moment you enter the conversation with your Young Adult with an end in your mind, you have already lost the chance of connecting with your teenager and building that rapport. It is highly advisable and scientifically proven that talking to teenagers in Adult ego state (reference ego states of Transactional Analysis theory given by Eric Berne) brightens the chances of solving emotional problems and helps in creating a stronger bond between the parent and the child as the Adult ego state seeks balance.
- Stop Being Judgmental: Be patient and don’t be in a rush to reach any conclusion. Give time and space to your teenager to open up with you on the topic and also give the same time and space to yourself. Control your thoughts and do not put a stamp of your own judgment on the discussion.
- Communicate Clearly: Start the conversation with simple and clear words. You may say, “This talk can make you uncomfortable but I still would like to speak with you because I love you and want you to make rational decisions and have safe relationships.”
- Unconditional Listening: Do not lecture while discussing about your teenager’s love life, be more in the listening mode. Listen to really understand, understand their perspective, thoughts, emotions. Look into their eyes while listening, talking. Do not just nod your head while communicating with your child.
- Control Your Reactions: Your reactions are very important. Never let such conversations take an ugly turn or make your child feel guilty about it.
- Understand the “Why’ Behind it: Always try to understand the reason behind getting into such situations. Remember, at any age, falling in love is an emotional upheaval, and more so for young adults because of hormonal changes, bodily developments, peer groups, and pressure, need to be part of a friends’ group and not feel like an outcast or an alien.
Do Not shy away from such conversations because if you do not initiate and help your teenager distinguish between love and infatuation then someone else may lead them on the wrong path. As parents, the onus is on you to have open, honest communication with your children on love and sex.
It is your responsibility to provide effective support to your children by keeping their brain development, bodily changes, online exposure, and social culture in mind. As a parent of a teenager and also as an expert working in the field with adolescents and parents, I see that there is more tolerance and freedom, but the risk of poor decision-making, figuring out what is right and wrong still persists.
Dear parent, what about being the Counselor you are around with your kids equipped with more understanding, tools, and techniques? What about if as a parent, you yourself, can learn some of the scientific counseling techniques and put them to use?
If you have a ‘YES’ as an answer to the above questions, then I invite you to become an Effective Counselor for Your Children, by joining me, Ms. Kavita Yadav, an acclaimed Parenting Coach and Expert, Counseling Psychologist, and the author of the bestselling book on Parenting, in my thoughtfully crafted signature program for ‘Parents’, titled R. E. A. R.©, which stands for Rearing Excellence And Radiance.
Please feel free to contact us to know more about the program. And as always, I look forward to your thoughts about the blog. Please leave your comments in the comments section below.