Why It’s Important to Engage With Your Teen in a Meaningful Way

Raising a teen is no easy thing, even if there are some super parents who make it look easy from the outside. Problems with adolescents can be anything from slamming the door during an argument all the way through to early substance abuse, so you want to make sure you’re doing the best job that you can from the start.

If you have found yourself looking for “residential treatment centers near me“, then you might need to try some new ways of connecting your teenager and helping to guide their behavior. Here are a few ideas to kick off a healthier relationship with your teen before needing to send them to a residential program, or how to engage with them after they’ve returned home from a treatment program. Whatever the situation, it’s never too late to try something new.

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Find healthy role models.

Finding other people in your community for your teenager to look up to is vital. Let’s face it, Mom and Dad will never be cool until your kids reach a certain age — and maybe not even then! Helping your kid to link up with other healthy role models can help them find their way outside of relationships with family members. Think of ways to match what your teen is already engaged with: if you’re a religious family, think about enrolling them in a youth bible study program where they can be guided by scripture. Alternatively, youth groups or sports clubs can be a good way to match them with an engaging counselor who might be able to guide them as well. Whatever will gel well with your child as an individual is the most important thing to consider.

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Let them lead the way.

Make it about them and their own emotions. Try not to let too much of your own feelings center conversations that you have with them — although of course you should open up and be honest with them as well. Be sure to keep considerations for their health and wellbeing at the forefront, rather than your own desire to be a good parent or anything like that. It’s a real test of humility to be able to come into these conversations, but if you can, the results will definitely pay off.

Avoid blanket bans.

No one likes being told what to do, and teens are no different. Try to avoid blanket bans, such as on technology or parties as these bans only serve to make certain things seem exciting and off-limits. Instead, try and open up a dialogue with your teenager about why you’re concerned and see what they think too. If they feel like you are treating them like a whole person and genuinely listening to what they have to say, they’ll be more likely to listen to your advice. Constantly telling a teenager “no” will only mean they will eventually stop asking you for permission. The temptation is everywhere for young people, you don’t want to be shut out from the difficult decisions they are making at this pivotal age.

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Promote authentic maturity.

Your teen is at an important stage between childhood and adulthood, so be sure to reward signs of authentic maturity when you see it. This can look like anything from sticking to long-term commitments, looking for advice before acting, or expressing genuine gratitude. These are all positive actions that are signposts that your child is becoming a mature and responsible adult. They’re also signs that you’re doing your job well! Tell your teenager that you’ve noticed and respect these kinds of behavior when you see it; this is the first step towards truly treating them like an adult, and they deserve recognition for it. Parenting should never be all about bad behavior. Be sure to celebrate the good just as much.