If you are a parent, you know how challenging it can be to maintain a healthy relationship with your adolescent. Yet, new research analyzing data collected from over 15,000 adults shows that children who had a healthy relationship with their parents enjoy better mental health throughout life. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, researchers determined that teens who enjoyed caring parents, open communication, spending time together and reasonable academic expectations when they were between 12 and 17 years old experienced less stress, felt less depressed, were more optimistic when they were between 26 and 31 years old. Furthermore, they were less dependent on nicotine and drugs.
How to Build a Healthy Relationship With Your Teen
Building an emotionally healthy relationship with your teen can be challenging. Mental health professionals say that one of the most important things you can do is to be present, particularly before and after they go on a date or to a teen-only activity. Ask strategic questions without being overbearing.
Be Interested in Your Teen’s Activities
While they may act like you are an embarrassment, teens love to be supported. Therefore, encourage them to participate in extra-curricular activities and show up when they have a game or performance.
Look for the Positive
Teens often feel very negative about themselves. Furthermore, they may get unflattering comments from their peers. Therefore, look for opportunities to accentuate the positive. Even if you have to be the bad guy occasionally, look for chances to tell your teen how much you love them and build up the unique things about them. Strive to be authoritative, not authoritarian, in your parenting style.
Teach Them to Take Personal Responsibility
Teens will experiment, so create an atmosphere where they feel comfortable coming to you with their questions. Encourage them to discuss the pros and cons of a situation with you without being judgmental or forcing your belief on them. Ensure that they have accurate data to support their decisions.
If you are the parent of a struggling teen, give our office a call. Meanwhile, family counseling often helps everyone enjoy a healthier relationship.