John Cowan - Loving Your Teenager

Publish Date
Thursday, 5 May 2016, 2:56PM
By John Cowan

Some people reckon teenagers are God’s punishment on parents for enjoying sex too much. I’m not sure I agree, but adolescents can be challenging. Here are a few tips for getting along a bit better. 

Is there something positive about your teenager?  Why not roll it into a genuine, unqualified compliment and give it to your teenager. If you find this really really hard, then I suggest you really really try!

If you find your temperature rising over some aspect of their behaviour, try to remember your own teenage years. How would you have liked your own parents to respond? But don’t get too vivid in your recollections – I’m sure some parents get harsh and strict, not because of what their kids are doing but because of what they did when they were young.  

Play a video game with them. Or grit your teeth, force a smile, and ask your teenager to play his or her favourite music. Discuss the music with them and why they like it so much. Don’t pretend to like it (I suspect my kids secretly erased any tracks that I claimed to enjoy) but do avoid criticism, because music is a huge part of their world. Recover from this bonding session by listening to an entire Beatles double album.

Get better at loving your spouse. Teenagers respond to the emotional atmosphere in a home. If there is bickering or tension between their parents they will respond to that, often in an immature way. They may avoid being at home, or ‘punish’ their parents for their behaviour. A secure relationship between their parents makes teenagers feel secure.

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