How to communicate with your teenage children

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Parents, you are incredible role models and important figures in your children’s lives, but sometimes it is hard for parents and children to get along. The relationship will never be seamless, but this article was created to hopefully open a small part of a teenagers life to a parent, to help them better understand the wants and needs of a teen today.

1. Don’t be hyper-attentive to your student’s grades. Caring about the grades your children receive is a valid emotion, especially in a high school setting. However, checking their powerschool accounts on a daily basis and constantly reminding them of grades they receive makes students extremely stressed. Your child will learn so much better in the classroom if they are motivated to get good grades themselves, rather than by avoiding being in trouble at home. Parents who constantly check their child’s grades and put major emphasis on grades that may not have been so great cause a lot of anxiety for a student. It is better to trust your children and have a conversation together about goals both parties have. Establish an understanding of expectations, and address the issue if the grades both the parent and student agreed to are not met by the end of a quarter or semester.

2. Understand that school today is different from school as you experienced it. Although many things won’t change about public school systems through the years, the generation your children live in is a different world then how you grew up. It is important to avoid judging one generation as better than the other. Keeping an open mind when talking to your child about their experiences in and out of school avoids conflicts. Any advice you give them may be helpful, but do not be offended if it isn’t. Your child and their peers are living a different life than the one you lived, and that is a good thing. Always be open to new perspectives in our infinitely changing world.

3. Understand that high school is difficult. As homework becomes more and more exhausting for a student on top of other extra curricular events as well as simply the emotional strain of school in general, it’s no wonder your children are so tired all the time. Please try not to be offended if your child just wants to be silent and sleep the moment they get home. A seven-hour school day is exhausting, and social pressures take an emotional toll on your student now more than ever. Keeping that in mind, it is also important to develop an open dialogue with your child. All people this age tend to keep most of their emotions inside, which can be extremely damaging. And although difficult, it is important to be able to promise your child that they can have a conversation with you completely free of judgment, and keep that promise.

4. Please try not to be paranoid. Doing things like searching through your child’s phone or room only increases their levels of anxiety, simply because it makes them feel like they are not worthy of your trust. Telling your child that you genuinely trust them and their judgment will motivate them to make good decisions much more effectively than searching through their belongings. Secondly, all people deserve a place that is completely their own and not altered or looked through by other people, including their parents. This privacy is critical to mental health. It is very important for your child to have a place that is theirs, such as their bedroom. Remember that there is no reason to not trust your child unless they have given you a genuine reason not to. If they have, address that issue as you see fit, but always trust that your child will make the right choices.