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Disconnected from your teenage son?: three infallible keys to improve your relationship

Adolescence is a stage full of changes and challenges for everyone . In the first place for the adolescent himself, who is going through a transformative stage in which he begins to define his identity. And secondly for his parents, who must learn to accompany him in a new and different way, standing behind him to help him take off.

Perhaps for all this, adolescence is so scary for parents , and we end up falling into labels and prejudices that we ourselves impose with the aim of trying to understand many of the things that are presented to us.

“When they are young, educating seems relatively easy and there is also a lot of literature on it” – reflects Diana Jiménez, psychologist, educator in Positive Discipline and creator of Childhood in Positive and Adolescence in Positive

“But as they reach adolescence, our children need a prepared adult to accompany them more than ever, and instead they find themselves with tired parents who put all their interest and effort into childhood , and now just wait for adolescence to pass. quick and good.”

This often leads us to lose connection with our children and want to control every step they take or decision they make. Parents feel vulnerable because, as Diana points out, “in adolescence we begin to be more aware than ever that our children do not belong to us . They were lent to us with just 50 cm and 3 kilos of weight, and we are only 20 years old to educate them

The good news is that ” adolescence is a second chance for parents to educate in a positive and connected way,” explains this psychologist, who has been accompanying families in their children’s education for years with programs such as “Boot Camp: Welcome Adolescence” , which will begin on June 7.

We have spoken with Diana Jiménez about the challenges of adolescence and about the three fundamental keys that should prevail in the relationship between parents and adolescent children .

Educate in connection, not in correction

Parents are the mirror in which our children look and their main example and reference. In this learning path we must show them the differences between what is right and what is wrong, and redirect them when they challenge the limits. But at all times , connection, love and respect must prevail , something that we tend to lose as our children grow and enter adolescence.

Thus, it is common for parents to spend the day correcting adolescents : “you have to study more”, “don’t leave your shoes lying on the floor”, “say hello when you arrive”, “your room is a mess” .. .. which ends up causing a “war” between parents and children.

There comes a time when adolescents stop listening to us, they turn around and leave, or they reproach us for our attitude: “you don’t listen to me when I talk to you”, “you don’t let me explain myself”, “you’re always the same”, “you talk to me fatal”…

So, we parents respond to their reproaches by starting a power war : “you’re selfish”, “how can you tell me that!”, “I don’t know what to do with you anymore”, “you’re lazy”… And sometimes , we even end up falling into punishments – explains Diana Jiménez.

Going from correcting the children to connecting with them requires a significant effort on the part of the parents, since we come from a generation educated with authoritarianism, where the error was also hidden ( “that I do not find out that you do this” ) and we were continuously corrected.

“We never learned to listen, or to make agreements. We come from a generation that obeyed and could not practice negotiating and listening tools.”

That is why it is important to be aware of how continuous corrections can end up affecting the self-esteem of our adolescents , and learn to listen to them actively, keeping silent while they speak to us and allowing them to express their opinions, concerns and emotions, allowing them to come to their own conclusions.

Influencing our children, not controlling them

Diana points to the influence of parents on children as the second key to achieving connection, although she emphasizes something important: influencing children is not wanting them to listen to us , but rather allowing them to make their own decisions and trusting them.

Influence is achieved by being a present father who looks with good eyes, who asks more and orders less, who seeks connection and shows confidence and encouragement. There is nothing that helps our children grow more than feeling accepted as they are , so that they can become what they are destined to be.

Thus, trusting them, promoting their autonomy and decision-making are fundamental aspects that we must put into practice in the education of adolescents. And it is that, as the expert reminds us, “at this stage of life our children need to find their own path , and what helps them most in this process is to feel heard and connected to us”

“Parents must stay in the passenger seat: close enough to accompany, but without suffocating”

That said, it is normal that at times as parents we feel fear or have doubts about the decisions our children make . Precisely for this reason it is so important to influence them in a positive way, allowing them to tell us without judging, and of course, also expressing how we feel.

Communicate with more humor

Finally, the psychologist and educator at Positive Discipline recommends that we use our sense of humor more often to communicate with our adolescent children, since humor not only helps reduce tension, but also helps us enjoy this stage more.

In this sense, Diana invites us to remember those funny things that our children did when they were little , their funny gestures and faces, their meaningless words, their crazy expressions that made us laugh… And she asks us a question that invites us to reflection : “Why at that time we laughed so much at their jokes, and now that they are teenagers we are no longer amused by their slang or jargon?”.

In his opinion, the answer is clear: we have lost the connection and we remain on the surface of their behavior , without realizing that they are going through a significant process of change.

If we are aware that our children are in a moment of change at all levels (physical, psychological, cerebral…), we will realize that we cannot add more pressure to them, and that we must be the refuge they expect from us.

“We must accept that our children are changing, growing… but that there is still in them a part of the child they were; that child who did clowning around and made us smile.”

Adolescence is the gateway to youth and adulthood , how our children go through this stage will depend on who and how we accompany them along the way.

You decide if you want to be that father who makes him shine, or on the contrary, who turns off his light.

In short, adolescence is a wonderful and complex path that both parents and children must learn to travel through mutual respect, connection and listening.

As in any other stage of life potholes can arise, but to prevent them from affecting our relationship it is necessary not to remain on the surface of behavior, and understand that our children are going through a process of change towards the construction of their own identity in where we are needed more than ever. Let’s not let them down!

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