Finding the balance between respect for their space and interest in their lives
The topic is particularly relevant for parents whose chicks are being systematically pushed to the edge of their nest in preparation for one day soon when they will have to fly!
Sometimes our children want us close and sometimes we see red lights that signal we’ve come too close. It’s difficult to find the balance between respect for their space and intense interest in their lives.
Here is one tip if you want to be THERE for your teens:
Replace intrusive questions with statements
- Instead of asking: “I just want to know how much learning you have to do for your test and when you will start with your studies?”, you could use a neutral statement such as: “Your Maths test is quite close. It sounds like there’s a lot of learning involved.” Enough said. You’ve fulfilled your responsibility by reminding her. Now take one or two big steps back …
- The same applies when you think your child needs help processing a personal crisis. Don’t ask questions or stick your nose into your child’s issues (“What is going on with you and your friend? I saw an awful message on your phone! Are you fighting?”) Rather open up the doors of communication with an innocent statement (“You’re not speaking much about your friend these days …”) and if your child doesn’t respond, accept that the subject is not open for discussion. By noticing what she is experiencing, you have already shown that you are available if she needs to talk. When your child is ready to talk, she will!
Master the skill of making statements instead of asking questions. This will give your child an opportunity for discussion, but also the freedom not to talk when he/she doesn’t want to.