CV Alliance executive director Suzy Jacobs is on vacation this week.
I have been thinking a lot lately about how I am one of the luckiest people on the planet because my relationship with my 17-year-old daughter is rock solid. We always get along wonderfully. But I have worked very hard to make sure this is so. I thought I would share some of what I do and maybe it will help you with your teenagers.
1) Make them smile! I always try to do something silly or sweet to make her smile. I will hide little notes in her lunch or backpack or turn up the radio to a song I know she likes and sing as loud as I can (she usually joins in).
2) Say “thank you.” The experts say to catch them doing something good. This goes a long way in continuing the good behavior. Everyone likes to feel appreciated. Just keep an eye out for any little things they do and tell them thank you for doing it.
3) Create a quirky ritual that’s just for the two of you. We have “SS time” (scheduled spontaneity). Once a week we carve out time when we do something fun for just the two of us. We pre-plan a little of it but then leave room to make immediate changes in the plans if something looks more fun.
4) Tell your child why you love them. It is equally as important to tell them that you are proud of the specific things they do, little or grand.
5) Make time for yourself as well as for them. You must put your own oxygen mask on first before you can help others. I make sure I have a life and make time alone to do some of things that I like.
6) Think about how you can make their day easier. Both my daughter and I make a habit of trying to do things that help the other; i.e., making their lunch or picking up something they need or like at the store.
Life is tough for all of us; however, teenagers have only had a few years to learn coping skills. So love them a little more, help them a little extra, and listen to them a little longer. This will lead to a better relationship with your teen, which in turn will make your life easier and happier.