Dealing with teenagers is hard. One minute they’re smiling, bright, and bubbly. The next, they snap at everything you say and spend an unnatural amount of time in their bedrooms. You can try to tell yourself it’s the hormones, but that doesn’t stop their sharp words hurting. Especially when you try to do everything possible to make them happy. For the most part, your efforts won’t be appreciated, and may, in fact, gain you only resentment. The worst part is that niggling feeling that there’s more than hormones at play. But, how can you tell if there’s something genuine upsetting your teen?
The trick to regaining your teen’s confidence is striking a careful balance. Resist the urge to ask what’s wrong. All this will gain you is a grunted, one-word answer. Worse, your insistence could cause your teen to retreat further. Instead, observe their behavior. Pay attention to simple things, like eating habits. If you notice a sudden decline in appetite or a worsening in mood, it may be that something more is going on. As well as dealing with hormones, teenagers face stress in school and friendships. And, then, there are the never-ending relationship problems.
But, what do you do if you do notice a problem? This is the tricky part. You need to find a way in without seeming overpowering or nosy. Remember that teens are secretive. They’re at a difficult impasse between childhood and independence. It’s as hard for them to understand as it is for you! One thing’s sure; they’re going to do everything possible to keep the problem to themselves. All you can do is show them that you’re there if they need to talk. Make an effort to take an interest in their friends. If you feel the need, ask them about relationships and see what kind of reaction your question gets.
If a problem is affecting your teen enough, the chances are they’ll come to you with it in their own time. Once you know what’s happening, you need to consider how best to move forward. Judge whether the issue will blow over, or whether it needs more extreme action. If your teen is being bullied or is involved in a dangerous situation they can’t get out of, you need to act. Whether that be talking to their school, or packing up and hiring movers to go someplace new. This may seem extreme, but this is your child’s safety you’re considering. Bad crowds can be impossible to get away from, and you won’t be able to protect your teen forever. If you think you can make a better life for them elsewhere, you shouldn’t hesitate.
For the most part, though, it’s important you listen when your teen approaches you with a problem. It may shock you, and make you feel as though your child is living a life you never knew about. But, it’s important you react in a calm manner. Together, you’re sure to be able to come up with a solution.