Adolescence is seen by most parents as a time when a child’s brain seems to shut down. Communication may seem very difficult from a parent’s perspective, mostly in part because they feel what is trying to be relayed to the child goes in one ear and out the other.
However, during this time in a child’s life most learning process, problem solving and brain development take place. So, the ability to communicate and teach life skills from parent to child, although difficult at times, is most important. It is important to talk to your child everyday. Cover everyday or common topics and venture into the land of the uncomfortable often. Bring up things that are embarrassing, not only to the child but to yourself too. By practicing this and laying the ground work early, it will make the more difficult conversations to come easier. Also the child will become familiar with the lines of communications that have been established, in turn making it easier for them to turn to a parent when support is needed. Another important factor in maintaining a supportive relationship with an adolescent and to remain involved in their life. Support their interest and offer to take part in them at any point of the venture. Even something as menial as giving them a ride, to things like attending activities as a spectator will encourage the adolescent to pursue their interest to their fullest potential. This encouragement and support with strengthen the bond between the parent and child by reassuring the child that they have the support of their parent. Also, this time spent strengthens the parent-child bond and opens the opportunity for communication to take place and all parties involved benefit from learning more about each other. Being involved can be tiresome, expensive, boring and time consuming but the reward is well worth it. By establishing the role as a supportive and interested parent, precedence will be set and will make it much easier to respect the boundary of being a parent and not being a friend.
James M. Parker