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By Zethu Sithole


Forming a close relationship with your teen

Establishing a good relationship with your teen can be challenging.

When you are a teen, you may feel you have everything under control and that your parents know nothing about life. They have experienced life and may have a good word of advice for you that differs to your beliefs. You may beg to differ and this may lead to a fall out between you and your parents.

You may pull away from your parents thinking, they are not on your side. Having a negative relationship with your parents, is not ideal but you can work on being closer to your parents again. You can improve your relationship; however, the process requires a lot of patience and discipline on your part. Parents here are pearls of wisdom to take to your teen and share so that they can be closer to you.

Be respectful to your parents

You may not always agree with your parents’ parenting style, values or principals, but that doesn’t mean you must be rude. Try to show courtesy to them, if only for the fact that they are your parents. Respect their point of view and try to understand where they are coming from.

Establish some rules

If you end up disagreeing and arguing with your parents during a conversation, consider setting up some ground rules. Reveal to your parents that you want to have a good relationship with them, but that in order to do so, there needs to be some rules. Ask that they make a list of the rules of engagement and share yours as well. Try to gently and diplomatically convince your parents that you have your own opinions and beliefs and they should try and respect them, even when they disagree with them.. Discuss the different rules, and narrow them down to a list on which everyone agrees. Decide, together with your parents, what the consequences would be should any rule not be followed.

Avoid arguing with parents

If your family history has proven that arguing with your parents causes major and prolonged conflict, then stay away from it. Discussion is positive but arguing with your parents is negative behaviour, and won’t reap you any benefits. Determine whether the need to respond is really necessary. If it is, make the point clearly and add that you don’t want to argue about it. Then change the subject.

Also Read: This is how you can have a more open relationship with your teen

Recognise that you cannot change your parents

Your parents have been around for some time and have shaped views which may be difficult to change. If you want to maintain a positive relationship with your parents, then understand that you will need to deal with them as they are. Invariably, this will require a lot of patience on your part. Share your views as well, as long as it doesn’t cause conflict.

Be mature when communicating with your parents

Be fair and logical about controversial issues and demonstrate to your parents that you have learnt to interact maturely. If parents experience you behaving in a mature manner, they will respect you and treat you accordingly. If not, stay disciplined in your efforts anyway.

Determine the reasons why you want to maintain a close relationship with your parents

If you are looking to create a strong bond between your parents and you then focus on this whenever you feel like giving up. This will pay dividends in the end, and undoubtedly improve the relationship that you have with your parents. Respect is a two-way street and needs you to show it so that your parents can give it as well.

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