Does your teenager ever start a random conversation with no context?
And it doesn’t seem to matter what you say, but you’re not going to get it right. Or you ask them a simple question and you get a really edgy answer that you’re pretty sure there’s something behind, but you’re not sure if you want to unravel that ball of yarn just right now?
Teenagers are often sending the signal that they’re trying to push you away.
They’re trying to shut you down or get you to say something wrong, catch you in something where they can be right. Don’t pay attention to the behavior. Listen to the message.
This is actually a teenager’s way of, you know, how two-year-old will pull your hair or throw sand at you because they’re trying to be your friend and they don’t know how to say it? It’s the same for teenagers.
They’re actually trying to connect with you and get you into a more meaningful conversation.
And they have no idea how. And so what comes across this, this really rude boy, sometimes dramatic and edgy behavior.
If you only pay attention to the behavior, you’re going to think they’re trying to push you away. When an actual fact, that’s their attempt to create a meaningful conversation and connect with you.
Over 5,000 teenagers recently told me that their greatest pain is their disconnection with you.
A 2018 study from the Canadian mental health association shows that teenagers who are more connected to their parents tend to participate less in drinking sexual activity and drugs. And they also are more engaged at school and get better grades that edgy behavior is a signal for you to ask questions and get curious about what’s behind it.
I just got off the phone with another devastated parent…
Who found baggies from drugs, drug paraphernalia, their vape charger refills. Their child has been going to parties day in and day out drinking so much. They’re vomiting all over inside the car. And then when they try and have a conversation about it the next day, they don’t even remember it enough to talk about it. And what’s worse. The child has also told them that they’re engaging in high levels of sexual activity.
There’s a perception that this only happens to bad families.
And it’s absolutely not true in spite of these parents, every best intention, loving and caring to raise their baby, giving it everything they’ve got. This still happens. This isn’t the first call I’ve got like this, and I’m certain it won’t be the last.
There are few things more heartbreaking as a parent than learning your child is making wildly different decisions than you had in mind for them. If this experience sounds familiar to you and you know, now at least most of what your teen is up to, it’s not too late. In fact, this is the time to dig into reconnecting with your teenager so that you can help them make different decisions and change that relationship.
Maybe you’re just starting to see some signs of change?
Things that make you go, Hmm, a little attitude shift some language. They don’t want to be around you as much. And they just aren’t sharing the same kind of information. This is a time to start asking questions and learning tools to open the conversation up again.
Maybe you want to be proactive about the teen years?
You know, it’s not all going to be flowers and roses. So you may as well learn the skills now to stay connected to your teenager through their difficult time of change and come out with a healthy relationship on the other end, no matter what stage you’re at with your teenager, be intentional about connecting and talk to them often because these challenges aren’t going away and giving up isn’t an option