As a mental health counselor and mother of two teenage boys, I have heard it all…literally..
I hear way too many personal things about my kids, their friends, girlfriends (or lack of) and at times, have thought about secretly murdering the extremely annoying cows and sheep in Mine Craft (just kidding). I almost feel bad for my kids, I mean, they have a mother who is always looking deeper into what they say, how they say it and what they do!
On a serious note, many of my parents ask me about parenting teenagers: What are the right amount of boundaries? How do I talk to my teen about sex, drugs and peer pressure without getting the notorious rolling of the eyes and ” I’m fine, MOM” comments? What about their future? How do I, as a parent, talk to them about their futures?
If there is one thing that I have learned this is it: Teens want to talk about themselves. Human beings love to be the center of attention. If given the right environment and a trustworthy recipient, teens enjoy discussing their lives. As an addendum, teens like talking about what THEY like. Talking about their family arguments or school problems does not interest them. Their friends, their dreams and goals, their feelings, and their frustrations are the favorite topics for discussion. Find ways to understand what it is that they like (listen to their music- or Google it!- Honestly some of the music is realllllllyyyyyy interesting). On a side note- now I sound like my mother….rrrrrrr.
Learn their “lingo” but know that if you actually start to use it, they will likely laugh in your face, call you old or just roll their eyes. We learn their “lingo” so that we don’t look like confused “old farts” when they DO actually talk to us. Ask them what “new” words actually mean. For example, BAE means BEFORE ANYONE ELSE and if often used to describe a potential girlfriend. To be honest, I learned about this word from my 14 year old but was so excited when I got to use the word with one of my teenage clients. I actually felt kinda “cool”, well maybe that IS taking it a bit far but I was able to engage her in a conversation and that is the point, right? Listen to mainstream radio stations or Pandora to get an idea of who is who in the music world, meet their friends and always, always set the tone for good communication skills between you and your teen. It is NOT easy to do this but it is worth the “battle”. Let them fly solo just a little bit and like a mother hen, always be there to gather them back up.
For your FREE guide to Parenting Teens, click the link below: If you feel like you still need more help with these difficult tween and teen issues, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you!
Samantha Mahon, M.S.,NCC,LPC
Samantha is a proactive and practical parenting expert. She is a Board Certified Counselor and she uses her knowledge of psychotherapy combined with her own personal and professional experiences to bring you the real-life options as parents.