Really Wonder What Your Teen Is Thinking?
By Sandy Schroeder
The teenage years can be a parental test no one really wants to take. If they could, parents would simply leap over the teenage years and go directly to adulthood. If you are a parent of a teen, you may be nodding as you read this, but psychotherapist Sean Grover, LCSW, has some tips in Psychology Today that may help.
Grover suggests your teen may be thinking something along these lines:
“Don’t give up on me. Don’t hate me back. I need you to be stronger than me. I need you to be my parent, even though I say I don’t want one. I need you to be more patient than I can be, more understanding, more accepting. Even when I am yelling at you, even when I tell you that I hate you, I still need you to love me.”
More Things They May Be Thinking
Give me breathing room – Don’t barge into their room and reel off your demands. They may not have answers and sometimes they just need space to be alone, like adults.
Find ways for us to relax – Whenever you can, get outside with your teen. Just sit and talk or go for a walk. Don’t force the conversation; just be happy to be there with them. If they talk, listen and listen some more.
Don't explode – You may be at your wit’s end with sloppiness, carelessness or lateness, but yelling won’t change any of it. In fact, it may make it worse as they slip further away. When they pull things together, give them a smile, a big hug and a heartfelt thank you.
Help me let go of my phone – Setting limits on electronics can be a breakthrough for them and you. Shutting down all electronics during dinner, and later in the evening, can open the door to more relaxed conversations and confidences.
Help me become independent – Limiting the flow of money and possessions can help a teen value them more and find ways to begin to manage life without feeling completely dependent.
Help me reach out – Teens need for you to be there, but they also need teachers, counselors, therapists and other adults that they can trust.
Let me know you love me – Teens often pull away from hugs, but sometimes they need them more than you know. Listen with your whole being and love them unconditionally.
Through it all stay in touch with your teenager and let them know you are there for them. You may want to see your doctor or psychologist if depressed, hostile, or other unusual behavior persists.
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