May 10, 2023

Have I Lost My Teen?

As your teen grows older, it can be difficult to connect with them on a deeper level. This is especially true as they strive to develop their own identity and seek independence from their parents.

However, it’s important to maintain a strong relationship with your teen during this time of transition. They need you now far more than they will let you know.

Here are some tips on how to connect with your teen during this challenging period:

1. Understand adolescent brain development: Adolescents go through significant changes in their brain development, which affects their behaviour and emotions. They are more impulsive, emotional, and prone to taking risks. Understanding these changes can help you empathise with your teen and approach them with greater sensitivity. Dr Dan Siegel has a wonderful book called Brainstorm, which explains the changes in the adolescent brain – it’s fascinating!

2. Show enthusiasm for their interests: Adolescents are exploring their interests and passions, and it’s important to support them. Take an interest in their hobbies and engage in conversations about their likes and dislikes. You may be surprised at how much you can learn from your teen.

3. Give them space: As your teen strives for independence, it’s important to give them the space they need to grow. Resist the urge to micromanage or control their every move. Instead, allow them to make mistakes and learn from them. This will help them develop self-confidence and a strong sense of identity.

4. Listen to them: Teens want to be heard and understood. Listen to what they have to say, even if you don’t agree with their point of view. Try to see things from their perspective and offer support and guidance when they ask for it. If you feel like you want to give advice or suggestions, it’s always a good idea to say something like “would you like to hear a suggestion?”

5. Spend quality time together: Let your child know that you still value the time you spend together. Plan regular family outings or activities that you both enjoy. This will create opportunities to bond and strengthen your relationship.

6. Most importantly, try not to take things too personally (this is a tough one)! Their behaviour during this transition is far more about their changing brain than it is about you, however you will often bear the brunt of their emotions.

Connecting with your teen during this challenging period can be a challenging task, but it’s important to keep communication open and empathise with their changes in behaviour and emotions.

Understanding adolescent brain development and encouraging them to explore their interests will help build a strong relationship and foster a positive sense of identity.

Please reach out for some support if you feel that you are losing connection with your teen. And always, always remember to practise some self-care.

With Gratitude

Danielle Hayes

Founder, Child & Adolescent Counsellor