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Improve relationship with your teenage child by considering these 5 things!

Large Wreath

Brought to you by:

WE Development

Large Wreath

Content written by:

Jamie Goh

Last Updated:

9 June 2021 at 2:58:51 am

Image by Daniel Mirlea

I felt my child is distancing away from me!

Raising a kid is like flying a kite; you have to release and pull back whenever necessary. If you always pull your child back, how can you expect them to fly? We have asked many teenagers about this issue, and here are five things we think are useful for you to consider as a parent!

1) Nag vs. Explain

2) Trust vs. Doubt

3) Academics

4) Neglect vs. Neglected

5) Rights vs. Privacy

1) Nag vs. Explain

Do you have the urge to nag?

Nagging is the most convenient and easiest way for parents to bring a point across. However, the modern child needs a modern way to be educated through explaining and understanding because they are young adults

Here are 3 steps to help you;

i) Ask relevant questions instead of giving instructions

- If they do not wash their dishes, ask them, "Is something holding you back to wash the dishes?" instead of "Go wash the dishes now!". If they are busy, leave them alone.

- Then, arrange a time when they have the right mentality to talk, such as during dinner or going out together. During this conversation, always be open to their views instead of insisting on your views.

ii) Explain and seek their empathy

- If they feel that you are nagging, find an appropriate time and ask, "What is it that I do that makes you feel that I'm nagging at you?"

- Bring the topic of your interest casually. For example, "Did you remember that you had not washed the dishes the other day? What happened?"

- Or, if they find that you are "naggy", let them know your interest at heart and explain the reason for your nagging. If you are clearly in the wrong, then admit and apologise if possible and seek their understanding.

iii) Devise a plan together to make a positive change!

- Discuss with your child and decide on a way you both agree on. This reduces your chance to nag while still getting things done the way that is agreed together.

- You can ask your child how they would like to be reminded to complete tasks. Allow them to choose when and how they want to complete the tasks assigned as well. If necessary, help them out, not for the sake of pampering, but in their times of need, such as examinations.

2) Trust vs. Doubt

Have you ever tried to control your child and tell them not to do certain things? For example, restrict them from hanging out with a group of friends?

Every cause has an effect. The approach you take will reflect to your child whether you are trusting or doubting. If your child starts to neglect you and is becoming more rebellious, it is definitely a time to intervene. But, as a trusting parent, not a doubting one.

Here are three ways to help you;

i) Be open-minded

- Things that were deemed to be unusual when you are young can be quite common these days. Such as; making videos to post on TikTok, chasing k-pop idols, and more.

- Keep a curious and open mind rather than being defensive, as the more you know, the more information you can have to correct your child in a non-invasive manner. This makes it easier for you to understand them.

- These information can also allow you to learn new things about young people, which are helpful to your friends and colleagues who are parents.

ii) Ask smart questions to find out the kind of activities they do, such as;

- What did you guys eat just now? Any new places that have good food? Do all your friends like this restaurant's options? The purpose is to identify their activities in a non-invasive manner.

- Are your friend's parents worried that they'd be going home late? Won't your friends feel tired the next day? The purpose is to identify these friends' lifestyles so you can have more certainty about what type of friends they are.

iii) Give them space

- Instead of constantly questioning them about their whereabouts, give them space, and allow for them to open up to you on their own.

- Instead of telling them not to hang out with a group of friends based on your mere first impression of them, try to get to know them. Open your household for gatherings and parties, have your child invite them over, and chit chat with them.

When your child feels that they have your trust, naturally, they will feel closer to you and update you on their own accord.

3) Academics

Do you find yourself setting high expectations for your child's academics? If they do not meet your expectations, what will you do?

Enrolling your child in tuition might not always solve their root problem. It is crucial to understand how they cope with stress to help them achieve balance in their lives.

Here are three ways to help you

i) Find out your child's ideal learning method

- There are different types of learners; Visual, Kinesthetic, Auditory, Scribble, Teach, and Copy. They learn from the things they saw, did, heard, wrote, taught, and copied, respectively.

- The traditional method of buying assessment papers and hiring tuition teachers suits certain children, but not all. Knowing how to find meaning in learning will help your child relate better to academic topics.

ii) Speak to your child

- Instead of doing what you think is helpful, ask your child what is most suitable for them. Give them room to explore their learning methods and help them along the way.

- Ask them about what went wrong during the previous test and how they intend to improve. Everyone makes mistakes; respect your child's decision and guide them along the way.

iii) Results can be important, but not everything!

- Good results reflect your child's understanding of a topic. However, the majority of times are due to the teachers' assistance with blind practices to get A's.

- In the real world, doing well is about the ability to find meaning and exhibit capability at work, adapt to varying changes, and positively deal with stress. Focusing on these build your child's character to handle challenges more effectively.

- So, be their mentor and guide them with this positive approach rather than forcing them to do things they dislike.

4) Neglect vs. Neglected

Do you have lesser interaction time with your child? Are they distancing from you? Are you neglecting them because of your work or your interest? Or are you being neglected because they are busy? When it comes to a point when your child seems like a stranger to you, this can be disheartening as a family member.

Spend more time with each other! When you and your child spend quality time together, it is the best way to connect. Here are 3 ways to help you!

i) Ask your child out for a meal

- Unless important, put down the phone when having a meal, set the example for your child.

- Be curious about their school or work, such as what their friends are doing or their recent conflicts.

- Share stories about young people that you read from the news and ask about their opinions.

ii) Do something that you or your child enjoy.

- For example, if both of you like hiking, you can spend a day hiking together, vice versa.

- Arrange time in a casual manner instead of forcing your child to abide by the date and time.

iii) Comment on them

- If they're dressed nicely, you could praise them and ask them where they are going.

- Provide tips for them to dress better, such as; "I think if you wear a black top will be better".

- Refrain from criticizing such as; "You look ugly!", "Can you don't wear so little?"

5) Rights vs. Privacy

Is searching your child's room to find out about their life your right as a parent or should you respect their privacy? Or, is opening their letters without their consent correct or wrong?

If you do not wish your child to the same to you, you should not do it.

Ideally, the best choice would be to trust your child and give them their freedom. However, as a parent, we are worried for their safety. So, how can you balance this?

i) Establish a friendship

- Stand in their shoes, be aware and understand that they need a social life, and are useful for their development to communicate effectively when they are working.

- Commit time and effort to carry out what we have mentioned in the previous 4 points.

- Never sound invasive and authoritative.

ii) Be curious in the right way

- Sometimes, you can be very curious about your child's development and well-being; But, you must give them the space to share them openly with you by positioning yourself as being open to communication.

- Avoid looking through their belongings even if you think that they are unaware.

- If you are uncertain about their behavior change, identify and reflect on how you communicate and what is going through in their life.

iii) Show that you give them space

There is a balance between curiosity and being a busybody, or "kaypoh". Give your child space to do what they want, either in a shared space or in their rooms. Giving them an area to be alone is also a form of healthy development for them

Additional Tips

It is crucial to develop this healthy communication habit with your child since young, not when they have reached above nine years old, when they start to exhibit signs of rebellion.

As your child gets older, their mentality starts to concretise and it will be significantly harder to change their mindset from there onwards. If you are in this situation, you can slowly try to change; when you put in the effort, your child will feel it!

Always remember to manage your time well to prevent neglecting your child. Be available to them.

Most importantly, good parenting does not stop at funding money or fulfilling your child's needs and wants. It includes helping them grow into successful adults while sustaining a healthy relationship with you.

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