Having kids is hard, but one of the hardest times for a parent is when that sweet little child of theirs turns into a teenager. At this time of their life, teenagers are going through a lot of changes both physically and emotionally.
They are becoming individuals and in the midst of becoming adults, but this journey comes with a lot of bumps along the way.
As a parent, it is normal to feel unappreciated by your teenager, especially when they are not showing any willingness to connect emotionally with you, but this does not mean that you are not a good parent or are doing anything wrong.
If you want to connect emotionally with your teenager, then it is important to do so correctly with caution and care.
How to Emotionally Connect with your Teenager
As parents, we want to have a bond with our child no matter what their age. They are attached to us as young children but when they reach teenagerhood it seems that that bond is fading away.
It may seem like they don’t feel comfortable around you, don’t want to open up, and don’t want anything to do with you, but this is just a teenager being a typical teenager. As a parent, you should already know what it was like going through that phase of life.
All you cared about was being with friends and those friends are the ones you would confide in, most likely before confiding in your parents. But despite this, you still want to be able to have some sort of relationship.
Teenagerhood is a time when a teenager is building relationships and shaping their lives, so you don’t want them growing to resent you. There is still a bond between parent and child – it is just up to the parent during this awkward teenage phase to ignite it.
So, how exactly are parents supposed to emotionally connect with a teenager who doesn’t want to try? Teenagers can be stubborn, but that doesn’t mean your relationship has to wither because of it.
It is very important to keep a strong connection, not only for the sake of your relationship but for their safety.
No matter what their age, they are still your child and you want them to be able to go to you for anything. The only way to achieve this is through maintaining an emotional bond.
Having an emotional connection with your teenager is easier than you think, and here’s how:
Express Your Own Emotions
With so many parents trying to pry emotions out of their kids, they forget that it is them their kids are basing their attitudes off of. As a parent, you are a role model which means if you get angry, they get angry, and if you are happy, they are happy.
It also means that if you are emotionally closed off, they will be too. Why would your teenager want to express their emotions if you aren’t able to share your own thoughts and feelings?
You want to let it be known that emotions and feelings and pains are completely normal. It shouldn’t be made to feel alien and especially not forced for your own benefit.
Make Your Home a Safe Space
Your teenager will not want to express themselves and connect with their parents emotionally if they don’t feel that they are in a comfortable environment. For many teens, their safe space is where they hang out with their friends or alone in their bedroom.
Although you may like to think that their home would be on their list of safe spaces, it may not be, especially if this so-called “safe space” is filled with parents repeating “what’s the matter?” or “talk to me!”.
Your teenager should feel comfortable enough to express themselves emotionally without feeling pressured by their parents. This, of course, is not to say that you should ignore them altogether. It is simply to say that you should stop pressuring them too much.
When they are ready to speak, they will be ready. This will really help to strengthen your relationship by focusing on their positives more than their negatives.
Make Time for your Teen
It is not too uncommon for parents to be “too busy” to talk to their teenager. They are usually wanting to talk about a subject that you are not interested in, a hobby of theirs or gossip about a friend at school.
If you are a parent that is always nodding their head and not showing a clear interest, you will soon see that emotional connection fade. Whilst teenagers are more stand-offish when with their parents, they don’t hate you.
They want to talk to you, and it may help to get to know what they are into so you have something to bond over.
Sometimes it is best to just listen. You may have your opinions but they are not always needed. If your teenager is talking to you about something they really enjoy and that makes them happy, you don’t need to shut them down with your unneeded opinions.
As well as this, if they are coming to emotionally open up to you, let them be free to talk for as much time as they need to. Show them that you care about what they have to say by listening.
Plan a Date
All you need is one time in the month to have some one-to-one time with your teenager. Whether you watch a film, have a girls night in as mother and daughter or go to one of their favorite concerts, take that time and make a date out of it.
You may not have their attention everyday and they may want to hang out with their friends, but at least now you two can always look forward to doing something which will bring you both together emotionally.
Parenting is hard, especially when your kid reaches their teenage years, and you want to be able to connect emotionally. Above, we have listed the various ways you can strengthen your relationship. You will find that by following these tips, you will see a growth in emotional bond.