How to talk to your teen after divorce
Do you feel alienated, ignored and invisible as a parent? Are you doing everything you can to communicate and still feeling ignored? Most parents will relate to moments of despair and alienation with their teenage child. Heck, most teenagers can relate to feeling like an alien in their own body! Know, that as a single parent or just as a parent, you are not alone in the challenge to communicate effectively, feel heard and acknowledged by your children no matter what their age.
What do you remember about your teen years? Were there times you questioned your popularity, sensuality, sexuality, or day-to-day life choices? Were there moments of wanting to be cuddled and protected from the outside world and other times when you wanted to escape, sever all ties to past experiences and prove yourself to the world?
Life is full of possibilities, but sometimes when faced with options we tend to feel fear and self-doubt. It creeps into the crevices of our mind and plays tricks on us. Stepping out, facing fear can be daunting, especially if in the past you felt slammed. So how do you move forward?
It’s scary to make decisions that often have perilous results. Majority of people are critical, but children can be cruel in their honesty. Even when you raise your child with praise and appreciation the smallest incident at school can destroy those feelings of self-confidence in seconds. Life is under a microscope as a teenager and emotions are raw and exposed.
As a parent you’ve established bonds of understanding, love, acceptance. Hopefully you have taught effective communication skills that will support your teen through difficult times. Accept that there will be difficult times. Be patient, but be open to discussing when your child feels ready. Anticipate peaks and valleys where emotions are volatile. Listen without giving advice.
Refer often to your toolbox of techniques when faced with situations beyond your control when you don’t have the answers.
- Have a support system in place so as a parent you have someone, somewhere to vent, discuss or get help. If you’re not comfortable discussing what comes up with a friend, spouse, mentor, school counselor, minister, or other, consider coaching where you, the client can be inspired.
- Meditate, do breathing exercises, take a walk, join yoga, exercise class, dance or anything that allows you to release tension in a healthy way.
- Maintain routine. This is so important because with routine and consistency anything ‘out of the norm’ is picked up on quickly, expectations and consequences are already laid out and boundaries are clear.
- Don’t blame your self for what ‘could have been done’ or anything else for that matter.
- Don’t blame your teen. Take time to get all the details, ask lots of questions, look at every situation separately with a fresh perspective and brainstorm together to resolve problems or decide on consequences.
- Be fair.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff, pick your battles.
- Be consistent.
- Respect your self and teach respect. Giving in to the whims of your teen to avoid a battle or out of sympathy will not resolve the problem. If you want your child to feel loved, respected and appreciated you must love, respect and appreciate your self. Don’t get into power struggles. You are ultimately the parent who is providing the essentials in life for your child. You have a future too and demonstrating the value of what you believe in begins with you.
There are so many more tools, techniques and pro-active ways to enjoy parenting with your teen. There are likely thousands of books written on this subject alone. Every home situation is different, every person is different. As a life coach I am trained to support, inspire and help my client find solutions pertinent to their individual circumstances. If you, or another single parent you know needs and wants help contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss options.
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