You know you love your child unconditionally, but does he know it? It’s your job to teach him right from wrong and to raise him to be a well rounded, loving boy. And it’s his job to test you day in and day out. It’s a normal part of raising teenagers, but all too often it leads to resentment and emotional scarring that lasts long beyond the teenage. You need to make a conscious effort to rebuild your relationship before it’s too late. Here are a few changes you can make today to form a strong bond that will carry him into adulthood.
Schedule Weekly Dates
In your busy schedules that never seem to match, it can be easy to talk in passing as you each accomplish your daily to-do lists. However, if you aren’t getting quality time with your teen hopefully at least once per week, the relationship could suffer. Choose one time per week that you both set aside for each other, and don’t allow it to be cancelled for anything. Do something fun, like a trip to the arcade or a nice lunch, and don’t make it optional.
Promise to Listen More
As the parent, it seems like you are always the one talking and your son is always the one listening—or at least pretending to. And that’s the problem. He’s not really listening. Instead, let him initiate the conversation. Learn how teens communicate. Wait for him to ask for your opinion about something, because that means he really wants to know it.
Laugh a Little
With arguments and lectures galore, it can seem like anguish and stress are the only emotions felt in your home. It’s time to change that now. Try to let the little things go. In the big scheme of things, does it really matter if your son left his jacket on the couch? No. Save your anger for the situations that require them, and try to lighten up the vibe in your home. Chances are your son will reciprocate.
Make Every Day Count
Just because your boy is growing up, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t like to have fun. Remember when he was little and you would wake him up to see the first snowfall of the year? Or when you would camp in the backyard and see what shapes you could find in the stars? Try to find something simple and fun to make every day more memorable. He will be out of the house before you know it, and you don’t want these golden opportunities for bonding to pass you by.
Give Praise Often
Your teenager is going to make mistakes; it’s part of growing up. But chances are your teen is making plenty of good decisions, too. Instead of all of your discipline being negative, try to focus on the positive. Tell him you are proud of him often, and mention specific examples of why. Perhaps he turned in his homework on time, or he made it home by curfew. There is no accomplishment too little to praise. He will appreciate the positive attention so much that he will seek out more ways to make you proud.
Remember It’s Temporary
The teenage years are arguably the most challenging of any parent’s life. With his know-everything attitude and desire to prove he doesn’t need you (yes, those are normal), havoc is bound to ensue. But it is important to remember that it is just one stage of his life. If you can put the above actions into place and work at rebuilding your relationship every day, you can be sure that the future for you two will be great. One day, you will look back at these days together and laugh about them.