The Key to a Healthy Relationship with your Teen
Take a look around any high school grounds and you will find many young people wearing all sorts of external masks. What do I mean by that? You will see girls trying to impress the boys wearing their makeup, some kids smoking and taking drugs, boys trying to impress the girls with their ‘too cool’ attitude. These external behaviours, in my belief, are attempts to mask, and express, what is being felt on the inside. One way to pierce through these masks is to speak directly to them using authentic communication.
As I look back to my own behaviours when I was young, I can see that I often masked what I was feeling through my actions, appearances and relationships. I sought out attention and healing in this way. What I really needed was to speak to someone about my life, what I was experiencing, and learn how to express the emotions I was feeling.
Children and young people find it difficult to express themselves through transparent communication. They are unaware of the importance of expressing how they truly feel and are often unaware of their emotions. I know I experienced this when I was young and if I knew how to communicate what I was feeling then, it would have made life a lot easier.
This is why it is so important for kids to learn the value of authentic communication and how to apply it. It is really valuable for parents to see the value in authentically communicating their emotions in their own relationships, and in their relationship with themselves. Then, they can teach such skills to their teenagers or children.
What does this look like?
Arrange a suitable time to speak to your child in a quiet place.
Express your love for your daughter/son and that you want to build a strong relationship.
Explain that you, or your child are not mind readers and it is therefore important for your child, and yourself to speak what you are truly feeling to avoid feeling misunderstood.
Explain that it is ok to speak what you truly feel and that you would rather know that it go unspoken about.
Begin the dialogue by speaking your true feelings and owning what you feel, e.g. ‘I am feeling worried we are growing further apart, and I wonder if it’s because you don't want to talk to me about things anymore.’
Wait for them to respond.
Continue to express what you are feeling with them to role model transparent communication and emotional intelligence. This will help them to open up as well.
Speak directly to what you are feeling, and encourage your daughter/son to do the same.
Express your gratitude for sharing this time with you.
Create a time each day or week to talk together in this way for a healthy relationship.
In my own journey, I have learnt how to move through my relationship challenges in this way. Particularly with my friends, and with my Mother, I have learnt how to express what I am feeling and see the direct benefits of doing so. It creates an opportunity for each person to express their feelings and needs, and to see the others’ point of view. Most of the time, I realise that the other person’s feelings and ideas are totally different to what I thought. We are complex creatures and we can never really know or understand someones perspective without asking them directly.
There is a very liberating feeling that comes when we can express what we are truly feeling in our relationships. When we can be received in speaking what we feel, it makes us feel more connected, heard and loved.
If you are interested to learn more, you can BOOK IN A SESSION with myself and your daughter
Develop transparency in your communication, the KEY TO A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP.