Parenting teenagers is no small task (perhaps especially during this time of quarantine during the coronavirus epidemic). After all, someone once joked, “Adolescence is a period of rapid changes. Between the ages of 12 and 17, for example, a parent ages as much as 20 years.”
Perhaps one reason for frustration from parents is that teenagers often need to learn lessons on their own despite your vast knowledge and experiences. To help make your life a little easier (and perhaps even slow your aging process), Lisa Damour, a psychologist and New York Times bestselling author, recently offered these four reminders of what the average teenager wants from you as a parent:
Teens Need a Sounding Board.
If your teen comes to you with a problem, you shouldn’t assume that you are responsible for providing the solution, no matter how much you want to provide the answer. Damour advises parents to let teens vent and remember to listen without interrupting.
They’re Seeking Empathy.
As parents, we need to assure our kids they can come to us at any time. In other words, Damour says, “Having a problem is not nearly so bad as feeling utterly alone with it.” To provide that, use responses like “that stinks” and ask questions like “Is there anything I can do to help?”
They Could Use a Vote of Confidence.
Your teens are likely never as vulnerable as when they open up to you. When that happens, it’s not the time to criticize or lecture. Instead, offer love, support, and encouragement that you believe they’ll find a way to solve the problem.
They Want Ideas, Not Instructions.
Help your child break down the things that they can and cannot control and remember to not jump in with a solution too quickly. When it is time to explore solutions, Damour reminds us, “Above all, aim to solve the problem with, not for, your teenager.”