Christian Counselor Seattle
The teenage years present a unique set of challenges for both parents and their adolescent children. As a parent, you desire the best for your teenager and want to help them, but you may feel as if you don’t know how to support them. Yet there is help available, and Christian counseling can provide valuable insights into this turbulent time of growth in your teen’s life. It can also help you to support them during transition so that both of you are able to thrive.
In my previous article, I discussed how you can support your teenager by recognizing that this is a confusing time for them, developing common interests with them, learning to empathize with their emotions, and being present for them. In this article I continue to look at further ways that you can support your teenager.
Humor is a great tool in negotiating awkward moments and can help to lighten the atmosphere. Teens can be pretty sensitive about themselves, so it’s best to avoid poking fun at them. But cracking a joke in a funny situation, or laughing at yourself, can be a great way to ease tension. Often as adults, we take life far too seriously, and it’s important to show teenagers that we don’t have to be serious all the time. Being able to laugh together not only eases tension, but also helps you to bond with your teen. It allows for inside jokes and can provide positive memories for your child. This could involve something as simple as sharing a story from your day that you think your teen would find funny.
Find Ways of Showing LoveLet your teenager know that you are thinking of them. However, the caveat here is to make sure that you don’t embarrass your teen. You can send them a text or write a note and put it on their bathroom mirror. Alternatively, consider making their favorite dessert. Your teenager’s need for your love hasn’t changed from childhood to adolescence, but finding ways to show it has got trickier.
Praise Good Behavior
Often it is the teenager’s negative behavior that attracts the parent’s attention, simply because it is obnoxious and needs to stop. But just as we don’t want to be defined by our mistakes and wrong choices, teens don’t want to be defined by their negative behavior. It’s important to balance your conversations with your child to avoid a situation in which they dread communicating with you for fear that it will become another lecture. Lecturing simply doesn’t work, and will only cause your teen to tune you out. No parent wants to become the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher in their teen’s head going: “Wah, wah, wah.” If you are looking out for your teen’s positive behavior you will be able to see it more readily, and this will help create more positivity in your relationship with your teenage child.
Model Good Coping Skills
In the transition from childhood to adolescence, teenagers often find that their coping skills that were effective as a young child no longer work for their teenage problems. A new age brings new problems. As a parent you can show your teen healthy ways of coping as you deal with the problems you encounter. If you come home feeling frustrated about your day, the way you handle your stress can be a great model for your teen. This may involve taking some deep breaths, stating that you need some space for fifteen minutes, writing down your thoughts about your day, or listening to a favorite song.
Problem Solve Together
One of the most important skills that teenagers need to learn is problem solving, but often their emotions get in the way of making clear-headed decisions. Instead of blaming them for struggling to make decisions, you can help them to think through choices and decide well. If they are sensitive about a situation in their own life, consider using a situation in your life to illustrate making choices. Including your teenager in brainstorming how to handle situations can be beneficial for both of you. It allows your teen to contribute and to share from their experience and it gives you ideas that you may not have considered. For example, if you had a frustrating interaction with a coworker, you could discuss this together. This not only helps you but also gives your teen ideas as to how they might handle their own life situations.
One of the best ways to support your adolescent is by taking care of yourself. You’re juggling many roles as a parent, employee, partner and friend, and in order to take care of your family, you need to make sure that you take care of yourself. It’s easy to neglect caring for oneself. One way to ensure that you regularly practice self-care is by scheduling it on the calendar. It may be a book club with friends, a coffee date with a coworker, taking photographs – or whatever you find fun. Having things to look forward to will help to provide balance in your life.
Christian Counseling Can Help You Support Your Teenager
Adolescence is a tricky time for both parents and teenagers. So many changes are happening on a regular basis that it can be hard to keep up. Likewise, if you feel that your adolescent could benefit from counseling, talk to them about your concerns and the possibility of getting them additional support. This conversation could lead to contacting a Christian counselor and setting up an initial session.
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