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Most parents have an instant love for their children as soon as they are born. Some families may take a little longer to bond, but loving your sweet little one comes easily for most parents.
Then one day, that sweet little boy or girl turns into a teenager. Halfway between child and adult, your teen’s emotions, attitude, and hormones are driving you crazy!!! All these changes can make it a little harder to love your teenager. We know you LOVE them because they are yours, but I guess LIKING your teen is really the challenge you’re up against.
Even though they are trying your patience almost daily, as a parent, you still need to love your teenager. Showing that love might look a little different than it did when they were a cute kid. You can show love to your teenager through affection, teaching them, setting boundaries, and making your home a safe space.
Showing affection is one great way to love your teenager. But it might look a little different than when they were little. Not all teenagers enjoy hugs or easily accept “I love you.” But there are still ways you can show affection to your teen.
Love Your Teenager With Honesty
Honesty is important in every relationship. Whether with your spouse, your kids, or your friends, being honest is a quality many people find desirable in others. Honesty is also an awesome way to love your teenager.
If your teen feels that you’re being honest with them, they will be more likely to trust you. And if your teen trusts you, they will be more likely to be honest with you. This is also a great way to show affection toward your teenager. Your honesty may be more important to them than hugs or pats on the back.
In our home, my husband and I have always tried to model and encourage honesty with our kids, especially in their teenage years, and it has really helped us keep a strong connection with each of them. Now, I’m sure that they haven’t told us EVERYTHING. Teenagers need their privacy too. But this honesty has helped our bond remain strong!
Be Trustworthy and Reliable
Being trustworthy goes along with honesty as you show love to your teenager. Honesty brings trust, and trust helps them feel free to be honest with you.
Being reliable is important too. If your kids can rely on you doing what you say you will, they will continue to trust you more. That doesn’t mean you won’t have to change plans when dealing with your teen. But if you’re honest and upfront when that happens, their trust will continue to grow.
Being reliable is a great way to show love to your teenager. When they can count on their parents, they will feel safer and loved.
Communication is a Great Way to Show Affection
Communication is another great way to love your teenager. So many kids want to run to their rooms or be in front of their gaming console, which can make communication difficult. And I have to admit it, as a parent, I spend a lot of time in front of my screen too. With that being said, as a parent, you will probably have to make the first move when it comes to communication and your teen.
Family dinners are a great way to communicate with your teen. You could also plan a game night or activity to enjoy together. At times, though, your family schedule may be super busy, which makes family dinners almost impossible! So you have to get more creative with your communication.
My kids are good at texting, so that’s one way we stay in contact with each other. We have a group message set up to easily share info with each other. If I need to talk to just one of my teens, I’ll send a private message only to them. As the girls have moved to college, we’ve started using FaceTime more often! The key is to communicate!
Oh, and tell your teen you love them. They may not say it back. And they may act like you’re a pain in their butt for saying it. But if you tell them, and tell them often, the message will sink in!
Love Your Teenager by Teaching Them
You can’t show love to your teenager without teaching them. You had to teach them everything as a small child. How to walk, talk, eat, use the bathroom… And now, the lessons you need to teach your teen are just as important, if not more so, and sooooo much more complex!
You not only want your child to learn what they need to in school but they also still have a lot to learn about life. They have outside influences from their school, friends, and social media. And who knows what they are getting in those places.
Show Your Teen Love By Teaching Them Life Skills
Your teen needs to be loved by you. And one of the best ways to love your teenager is to teach them life skills. They need to learn from their parents how to be a kind, humble, and hardworking person.
Kindness will never go out of style. In the age of bullying and low self-esteem, we need more kind teenagers in the world. Humility is another skill that we can’t have enough of in the world.
And hard work seems to be increasingly uncommon. Teaching your teen the value of their hard work is a wonderful skill that will serve them well in their adult lives. My teenagers helped around the house and babysat when they were too young to drive. After they were 16, each of them got a job at a local pizza shop. It was a great experience that taught them to earn their own money and be proud of that fact.
As a Christian, one of my most important responsibilities is to teach my teens about Jesus. If I can teach them about Jesus and His love for them, then they should model His behaviors. And if they are acting like Jesus, they should be more kind, humble, and hardworking.Answers in Genesis Bookstore
Proverbs 22:6 says it best- “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
Love Your Teenager by Allow Them to Fail
One of the hardest ways to love your teenager is by allowing them to fail. This is your (almost grown) baby, and letting them fail makes you feel like a bad mom!
But allowing your child to fail can be one of the best lessons you can teach them. When they are adults, mom and dad won’t be there to save the day when they have work troubles, or when they get a traffic ticket. Some of the greatest lessons I learned as a teen was when I made mistakes. I bet you can remember some of your past failures, and that they taught you more than any of your successes in life!
I’ll go ahead and be honest with you, my husband and I struggle in this area of parenting. And no offense to my husband, but he struggles with it so much more than me. It’s gut-wrenching to watch your kid fail! He can almost feel the sadness and rejection along with them!
But, part of teaching our teenagers we have to allow them some opportunities to fail. Hopefully, through living these failures, they will bounce back and become much more resilient in the future!
Show Love to Your Teen by Setting Boundaries
Another way to love your teenager is by setting boundaries for them.
Yes, teens are older, and (hopefully) more responsible. And with this added maturity should come some added priveledges. But this doesn’t mean you need to let them have or do everything they want to do.
Rules and Routines are Important
Your teen’s brain is still developing. One area that is the last to develop is the frontal area. This area of the brain controls executive functions like inhibitions, reasoning, and problem-solving. Since your teenager hasn’t fully developed this part of their brain, they will need your guidance and rules for a few more years.
Even though you’re allowing your teen to do more and have more of a say, clear expectations of the rules should still be established in your household. There should be no grey area that they can manipulate in order to avoid your rules.
Consistent bedtime and morning routines are VERY unpopular with teens around the world! But they also require more sleep. So having a consistent routine for bedtime is a good idea.
Stay Calm When Dealing With Your Teenager
Another way to love your teenager is by staying calm when dealing with them. This is another thing that can be HARD. To. Do…
Teenagers can get on your nerves, even when they aren’t actually doing anything wrong. They are often lazy and sloppy, and they take forever to do one simple task!!! Why is that so hard?
Then, when you question them, they go on the defensive. They get snarky and that mouth will make you want to lose it and scream!!! In fact, most parents have been goaded into a screaming match with their teen at least once.
Staying calm, and speaking calmly back to your defensive teen can make a world of difference for both of you. By refusing to get agitated and worked up, you’ll probably help your teenager calm down too. And if you can both stay calm, then whatever the problem is can be resolved much more quickly than it would have.
But what if you forget to stay calm? What if you’ve had it with your teenager, and you explode into a screaming fit right back at them?
Most parents, at one time or another, have lost it on their kid. If you haven’t yet, just wait. It is very likely to happen, especially when dealing with your teenager.
There have been (cough, cough) a few times my kids have pushed me to this breaking point. And yes, they were in the wrong and had some of it coming. But I didn’t need to completely lose it. So, I’ve gone to them and apologized for going bonkers.
Amazingly, after my sincere apology, my teens were much more agreeable. In fact, they usually replied by telling me I had a right to yell, and they shouldn’t have acted the way they did. And next time, I will try harder to stay calm with them!
Love Your Teenager by Making Home a Safe Space
One of the best ways to love your teenager is by giving them a safe space. And making your home a safe space for them is a great way to do that!
Teenagers need a place where they can be themselves. They need to be able to vent and share their frustrations with those that love them. This doesn’t mean letting them do and say whatever they want without consequences. But it does mean giving them some leeway when they are frustrated or anxious.
If my kids want to vent, I’d rather them rant at home. By allowing them to do that, they (hopefully) will be able to keep their feelings in check in public. It can also help them keep from posting something on social media that they will later regret.
Thank you for reading this post! If you have any other methods or tips for loving your teenager, please message me or share them in the comments.
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