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Tips for communicating with your teens

Adolescence is a tough time for both those going through it and for the parents. Our teenage years are our brooding years and are the times we figure out ourselves and who we are as individuals. For some of us, it is also the time we came into our gender identity and sexuality (though this is not a one-off journey). So, as parents, you have to be patient with the young adults, and you might have days that you are failing as parents, but we’ve all been adolescence, and we know it’s the time we see everyone as the other and as our personal enemy. Without further ado, let’s learn some tips that you can use to ameliorate your relationship with your teen.

1. Don’t be a dictator

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Yes, you are the parents, and they are your children, but this is not a dictatorship, and you need to understand that they’ll rebel against whatever rules you set. Now, we aren’t telling you to not set rules, but you need to be there to explain it to them as well. Don’t be like this is my house, these are my rules, get with them or get out. This is the beginning of a conflictual relationship, and this means that you aren’t communicating with them properly. While you have to set some boundaries, you need to be thoughtful about how that might impact them. Yes, set rules but be reasonable and flexible with them.

2. Be an open door

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Okay, as someone who grew up with conservative Indian parents, I can tell you how having a boundary between you and your kids is bad and breaks down communication. As an Indian kid, you didn’t get to express your feelings and opinions on things that mattered; you just had to follow the rules and get good grades. Not once in the 18 years that I lived with my parents had I received a single compliment because Indian parents don’t show their feelings? However, this wall will be the downfall of your relationship with your kids and having an open-door policy in your house means your children can come to you at any time and tell you about their worries.

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Give them praise when they deserve it because they have to know they matter. And if your kids ever come out to you, don’t be like my parents, don’t disown them and throw them out of your home. If you aren’t ready for your kids to be gay, disabled, or even trans, then you shouldn’t be a parent. Control your feeling when your kids tell you sometimes, no matter how good or bad that is. Remember, your teen already has a less than desirable self-image and praising them might help them come into themselves.

3. Listen to them and do things together.

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Ask your kids questions, however mundane they may be, whether that’s how they are doing at school or even about their love life. However, don’t be too pushy but they will open up on their own over time, but this will take time. Kids buckle up under pressure and don’t do well when pressured to share information, especially personal information. Always try to be there when they want to talk and listen to them even if they tell you the most boring stuff. It is their way to lay the groundwork and start a blooming relationship. However, talking is not the only way of communicating; you can also go out and do stuff with them. Do activities with them like cooking, watching movies, or even hiking together.

Your kids and teens are going on a rough path; adolescence is never a good thing for anyone, especially with hormonal shifts and rapid mood shifts. So, be gentle with your kids and listen to them. Sound off in the comments below and tell us if you want to learn more about communicating with your children.

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