6 Ways to Develop a Better Relationship with Your Teen

These tips can help you develop a healthy relationship with your teen.
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The social, emotional, and physical changes that accompany the teen years can make relationships between parents and teens tumultuous. Developing and maintaining a healthy relationship requires a combination of patience, skill, and proactive involvement.

Here are some strategies to help you develop a healthy relationship with your teen:

1. Balance Freedom with Guidance

If you micromanage your teen’s activities, you’ll risk pushing your teen away.

If however, you don’t offer enough support, your teen may be at risk of developing unhealthy habits or engaging in risky behavior. It’s important to find a healthy balance between freedom and guidance.

Keep track of your teen’s major activities, but allow for some privacy as well. Establish clear rules and consequences while also allowing her to experience a few natural consequences,

2. Keep Your Role as a Parent Clearly Defined

There are six essential roles parents of teens should play, and friend isn't one of them. Avoid any temptation to connect with your teen by becoming pals because in the long-run, it will only damage your relationship. 

Keep the power hierarchy between you and your child clear. Respect your teen’s opinion and trust her to make some decisions independently. But ultimately, make it clear that you’re in charge.

3. Spend Quality Time Together

The best way to build a relationship is to spend quality time together.

It’s not unusual for teens to prefer spending time with friends over time with family, however, so don't expect your teen to spend all of his time with you.

Sometimes, stepping into your teen's world can help. That may mean playing a video game you don’t particularly like or shopping in stores that aren’t your taste.

That doesn't mean you have to pretend you're a teenager all over again but it does mean being flexible with the activities you're willing to try.

4. Spend Time Talking About a Variety of Topics

Encourage your teen to talk about a variety of subjects. Ask about his dreams for the future or how he feels about current events. Showing interest in his thoughts and opinions can go a long way to encouraging him to open up to you more regularly.

Use the media to spark conversation. Ask what your teen thinks about certain music or news stories. This can help you develop a better understanding of your teen’s values as well.

5. Build Credibility

In order to have a healthy relationship, your teen needs to believe that you know what you're talking about. Take steps to build credibility. Make sure that you are a parent of your word by doing what you say and saying what you mean.

Invest time and energy into being a good role model. Your teen will learn more from what you do than what you say so it’s important to be a living example of the values you teach.

6. Get to Know Your Teen’s Friends

Being an active part of your teen’s life means knowing who your teen is spending time with on a daily basis. Let your teen invite friends over to the house and show an interest in getting to know your teen’s friends.

Eat a meal together, go on an adventure, or just spend a little time talking. Providing positive attention and genuine interest can help you get to know your teen's friends better, which is an essential component to having a healthy relationship with your teen. Just don't try to be part of the gang--keep your role as a parent clear. 

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