Have you ever wondered, what is going on in my teen's head? What are they thinking? What happens when I am not around? How do you resolve this natural curiosity? Many parents would resort to snooping;
â€¢Â Â Rummaging through their teen's room
â€¢Â Â Asking their teen's friends' parents questions
â€¢Â Â Listening to their teen's phone conversations
â€¢Â Â Spying on their teen's twitter and facebook pages
â€¢Â Â Strategically placing adult informants who will report back on the status of their teen (yes I know...this does happen...you would be surprised!)
Worst case scenario you may "strong arm" your teen into telling you what is going on in their life; usually in a heated argument where tempers are flaring, feelings are hurt and parental authority leaves your child with no choice but to dispel their secret life.
None of the above scenarios are ideal!
Often simple conversations in a non-threatening manner is all that is needed for youth to open up. Better yet, youth are more willing to open up when not expected to or pressured into doing so. Spend quality time with your son or daughter. If you have a big family treat each child as if they are your one and only. Take time out to build a relationship with your child by finding out their interests, dreams, and goals; spend each waking moment realizing them together.
Youth always open up to me when I least expect it; in the movies, during dinner, during walks, while playing basketball,during a crazy eights card game, during scrabble and the list goes on!
In contrast, when I sit down with youth and ask them "What is bothering you?" or "What is going on in your life?" I am often met with silence until I am able to build up some trust and the youth feels safe and secure. I know you must be thinking, "I am their mom or dad they should automatically feel secure!" Well your their parent so you should already feels secure so why snoop? The truth is feelings of security and transparency does not come natural, steps have to be taken to reach this level.
Take the pressure off! Spend time building a quality relationship with your teen that centers around their strengths, interests and dreams. Help each other build the security and trust needed for an open and transparent atmosphere. Once this is achieved you will find that both of you won't be able to shut up about what is going on in your life!