What your Teenager Wants to Hear From You
Despite his or her apparent detachment, your teenagers expect a lot from you, and need you to pass on a series of messages

Author: Teresa Artola Gonzalez | Source:

It is possible that most of the conversations are reduced to challenge and criticize him or her for their unkempt appearance, for the time they get back home, for their grades, for hanging all day on the phone…

It is true that we have a responsibility to correct them, but if we are not careful, our relationship can be reduced to reprimands and criticism.

Despite his or her apparent detachment or desire to be independent, your teenagers still expect a lot from you and need you to pass on a series of messages.

Teenagers need to hear from their parents that they are proud of them, and not just when they get good grades or when they win the football game, but also when:

1. He or she strives to achieve a goal, but does not make it

2. Makes his or her own decisions

3. He or she tries again, despite having failed

4. He or she fight to be better

You have to show your child that you are proud of him or her, despite everything, because he/she is your child.

That you accept and approve him or her as a person, but that sometimes you do not approve of his/her behavior.

Many teenagers today are not fortunate enough to hear this message often.

The second message is about availability.

Your child needs to know you are there, available when he/she needs it, that he/she can always count on you. Although apparently they do not need you, in difficult times they need to know that they count on you. If you fail to convey this message they will seek advice and assistance elsewhere.

You must be available when he or she needs you, which is not the same as bombarding him/her with questions. Intimacy is not imposed, you have to earn it.

Another message that your child should be aware of is your interest to understand him.

Often teens accuse their parents that they do not understand them; that they live in another galaxy; that they are distracted and know nothing of what is happening around them.

Sometimes our son/daughter is just trying to manipulate: he/she confuses “understanding” with “agreeing.”

You must try to take the time to try to discover the reasons behind your child's claims; to listen to him/her; to put yourself in “his/her shoes" before forming an opinion.

Your child at least should realize that you are trying to understand him or her, respecting his/her personality, his/her peculiar way of being.

Trying to keep up with: movies, music, celebrities, sports ...

Knowing how to be flexible in those things that are not substantial: schedules, dress, order ...

Giving importance to each child individually: exams, outings, friends, fun ...

Discovering that your child is quiet, sad, angry...

Knowing how to forgive, giving a second chance.

Apologizing when necessary: which means that you do not loose authority, but that, on the contrary, you gain prestige. 

Key to this is that you let your child know you trust in him or her. This way you will encourage him/her to want to live up to that trust.

However, this confidence does not mean that we allow him or her to do things for which they are not ready yet or let them deal with situations in which the degree of risk is higher than their level of maturity.

We must make them see that confidence will gradually develop as they gain more experience and demonstrate that they are able to act conscientiously.

The last message, and also the most important, is that children want to hear from parents that they love them. When a teenager is not sure of the affection of his/her parents, the other messages mean nothing.

They need you to say that you love them, and that you prove it.


From the book "How to solve the everyday situations of your teensagers," Word Publishing, Madrid, 2.000.eo

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