Maintaining positive connections with your teen can be difficult as they begin to find independence.
This can be a challenging time for parents and teens to stay connected. Adolescents can react with a heightened sense of emotion and be more impulsive with their decisions.
I often hear parents during this period ask why a child they’d previously felt so close to is now so distant, so the question here is why?
Here are some reasons why this may is happening:
Scientists have established there are several key changes in brain development during adolescence. As braincells and brain pathways connect more rapidly they perform better; each area of growth and behaviour change can really challenge the teen/parent relationship. This biological change is necessary as it supports coordinated thought, actions, and behaviours for a teenager’s transition to adulthood.
Teens become more outward looking as they explore their identity, focused on establishing connections with others away from their carers. As they develop new interests and become more influenced by people their age, they can begin to copy those they admire. At this stage teens can also misread facial expressions or cues, which is why they’re so quick to argue. The more logical area of their brain is still being built.
How to stay connected in a positive way
Hold in mind change is fast for teenagers in all areas: physically, socially, and psychologically. Coping with fears about relationships, fitting in, self-worth, hoping for acceptance – these can all heighten anxiety. Being emotionally available and empathic even when you are being challenging is key so press pause and acknowledge how difficult this process is. It will allow you to be open and be compassionate with your teen and yourself.
Remember social connection is vital for a child’s wellbeing. A good laugh with friends can introduce all the feel-good chemicals that help low mood or depression.
Avoid stereotyping adolescents and being hyper-critical. Enjoy their company as a new and exciting social connection.
Don’t underestimate how much they value their friends. It’s safer to be curious and non-judgemental within reason. Teens are full of interesting new topics and fashions. If they’re interested in a music artist, get to know the sounds rather than dismissing it. You may gain a shared interest.
Expressing how you feel or showing how you manage under stress can help a teen talk about their large and difficult feelings.
If they’re shouting and being unreasonable, try not to escalate the situation by joining in. They’re probably too angry or hurt to hear. Communicate later when things are calm.
What to look out for unhealthy connections and choices
When facing identity insecurity, teens may follow a group who they think is exciting or offers a sense of belonging. Look out for signs of risk-taking or dangerous behaviour which can be exciting initially, but develop into more serious difficulties:
going under the radar, truanting, dropping out from college or university
weight loss, slurred speech, unexplained bruises and cuts, scalds, burns
erratic behaviour, becoming withdrawn, abusive and violent.
When connection is too difficult, psychotherapy can help
Sometimes communication has broken down and it’s important to open the channels again. This can be possible in a safe, non-judgemental space where even the most challenging issues can be thought about. Some teens find talking much too challenging. Exploring their feelings through the safety of imagery and the arts is a useful alternative to talking. Getting help early on can safeguard against issues affecting long-term mental health.
https://symia.ir/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/teen.jpg199254malihihttp://symia.ir/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/symia_logo.pngmalihi2023-05-01 12:46:592023-05-01 12:52:40How to stay connected with a teenager
Comprehensive Psychological and Counseling services Center
Founder and Manager : Dr. Saied Malihialzackerini
Medical & Health Psychologist