Ever wonder where your sweet little baby went?
Your child hit the teenage years and everything changed. Do you sometimes feel like you don’t even know your child anymore? Even worse, do you feel at a loss of what to do?
The #1 belief you need to reconsider
Consider the possibility that much of the conflict with our teens is based on a limiting belief that parents buy into.
The limiting belief? That teenagers are difficult to understand, get along with, and raise.
Teenagers actually want to be happy, heard, and respected. They don’t wake up one morning and decide to be frustrating. They do, however, resist when pushed to live contrary to their nature.
You can get along with your teenager when you know the four basic ways that teenagers move through life—and what your unique teenager needs you to do today.
Know the Type of teenager you’re raising
The Fun-loving Type 1 Teenager:
- Your frustration with them: You might think this teen is irresponsible, poor at following through, paying more attention to their friends and social activities.
- Why they might disconnect from you: If they experience too much structure with you, these teens may turn to friends who offer more freedom and acceptance for their random nature and do not try to make them more structured.
- The tip to try today: Give them a fun surprise. It could be a dinner out, a small gift, an evening with friends, a ride to somewhere they’ve wanted to go. Make it no strings attached so they don’t have to behave a certain way to receive fun from you.
The Sensitive Type 2 Teenager:
- Your frustration with them: You may view the more subtle teen as sulky, mopey, or over-the-top emotional. They may seem slow or indecisive. When out of balance, they tend to worry.
- Why they might withdraw from you: They don’t feel invited to share their feelings. They need to feel that their feelings are heard and valued.
- The tip to try today: Ask them questions. Consider a few of these… “How are you feeling about things lately?” “What’s your plan for the next little while?” “What other details do you need to feel comfortable about ___ that’s coming up soon?” “What timeline are you comfortable with to get this done?”
The Determined Type 3 Teenager:
- Your frustration with them: You may see this teen as too pushy, busy, or overly confident. You may tell them no and they go around you to do what they want anyway.
- Why they might push you away: They feel like you always tell them no, or that you doubt their self-confidence.
- Tip to try today: You’ll see your teen working on something today. If it’s something you’d normally say no to, just hold your tongue. The next time they show you an accomplishment, tell them the best phrase a Type 3 teen can hear: You did it!
The More Serious Type 4 Teenager:
- Your frustration with them: You might see this teen on one end of an extreme of the other—silent and walled-off or blunt and boldly critical. Either way, you may become frustrated if they seem unwilling to compromise.
- Why they might shut you out: If this teenager doesn’t feel respect from you, they won’t respect you. They don’t like being treated as if they’re immature.
- Tip to try today: The next time this teenager offers an opinion, say, “I respect that.” Mean it. If your teenager is the more withdrawn type, respect their need for privacy, rather than trying to bring them out more. They will let you in when they don’t feel attacked.
Don’t just survive your teen. Thrive together.
Just because people talk about the teenage years as an awful, rebellious, angst-filled time, doesn’t mean it’s true. Don’t accept the cultural belief that raising a teen is painful.
My relationship with my children was delightful and rewarding during their teen years. Understanding their true natures made all the difference in loving and supporting them in a manner that allowed us to maintain close and loving relationships.
You and your teenager can enjoy every single day of these years.
Allow your teenager to establish their identity, to individuate from you, and to move through the world in their own way. They will grow up grateful that you did.