How to Connect with Your Teenage Child If They’re Closed Off

by Edward G. Guest Blogger
Parents often struggle to connect with their children, especially pre-teens and teenagers. As children enter young adulthood (early 20s), they become more empathetic to their parents’ experience. This helps them grow closer to their parents, and become more open with them.

However, waiting for your children to enter young adulthood and start connecting with you isn’t realistic. If you fail to take the right measures and simply wait for them to come around, your relationship could become more fragmented.

Instead, we suggest taking active measures to connect with your teenage child if they’re closed off. The right approach will help you strengthen your relationship with your child, and become more involved in their life. As a parent, you’ll gain much-needed peace of mind and enjoy a healthier bond with them.

In this blog, we’ll walk you through some effective strategies to connect with teenage children without upsetting or provoking them. Continue reading.

Find Common Ground

Start by putting yourself in your child’s shoes. Teenagers are often dealing with a lot of academic and social pressure. It’s possible that your child simply has a lot on their plate and can’t find the emotional capacity to open up to you.

In this case, we strongly recommend giving them some space and finding common ground in the meantime. Instead of being inquisitive and continually probing into their personal or academic life, find natural ways to connect with them.

For instance, find a movie in their favourite genre or read a book by their favourite author. Suggest that you watch the movie together, or strike up a conversation with them about the book you just read. This is a great way to show your teenage child that you genuinely care about their interests, and aren’t trying to pry into their life without taking the time to get to know them.

In many cases, parents want to know what their child is up to, and use the wrong approach to go about this. If you dig deeper and deeper without taking a genuine interest in your child’s likes and dislikes, they’ll become more alienated.

Instead, show that you’re committed to meeting them halfway. By adding the “friendship” element to parenting, you’ll strengthen your connection with your teenage child.

Be There for Them

a mother and daughter spending time together

Teenagers are known for making mistakes. Think back to when you were a teen, and we’re sure a handful of mistakes will spring to mind. While you may feel compelled to judge and reprimand your teenage child, take a step back.

Remember, they’re not a young child, they’re a teenager. If you tell them off, they’ll feel irresponsible and injudicious. Their mistakes aren’t reflective of their prudence, or lack thereof. They’re simply teenage mistakes, which even the most studious and responsible teenagers are prone to making at some point.

Cut them some slack, and turn a potential lambasting into an understanding conversation. If your teenage child gets a bad grade, be there for them. Try to understand what went wrong, and withhold judgment.

Were they upset about something in their personal life? Did they procrastinate? Was their mental health suffering in any way? As you empathetically listen and offer the support and guidance they need, they’ll feel better about opening up to you.

Remember, keep the judgment aside. You can still help them get back on track without making them feel inadequate, unworthy, irresponsible, or immature.

Take Their Opinions Into Consideration

As a parent, you may feel like you know what’s best for your child. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, especially if said child is a teenager. Instead of enforcing your rules and opinions on your teenage child, take some time to understand their point of view.

Perhaps your way of handling things is better. However, it’s also possible that their viewpoint is more judicious than yours. Remember, this isn’t a competition. You ultimately want what’s best for your child. In some cases, they may know that better than you do, and that’s okay.

For instance, many teenagers are making the switch to Virtual school online UK in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some parents are hesitant about this switch, many have jumped on board after hearing about its benefits from their children.

As a parent, your teenage child may want to switch from conventional school to online school. If they approach you with this proposition, don’t shut them off immediately. Instead, take their input into consideration. Afterwards, do your own research, and speak with friends and family members. Ultimately, you’ll be able to make an informed decision that’s best for your child.

By respecting and valuing your child’s opinion, you’ll help them feel comfortable about opening up to you. This will go a long way in improving your relationship with them. At the end of the day, you’ll also manage to make decisions that are best for their future, well-being, happiness, academic growth, and personal development.

Recommended Read: 6 Reasons Why Online Schools Are Becoming the New Normal Post-Pandemic

Validate and Affirm Them

Validation and affirmation are extremely important for teenagers. As they navigate a period of immense self-reflection and self-growth, they have numerous opportunities to thrive. As a parent, make sure you continually validate and affirm your child. Even if their performance is subpar in a specific sport, activity, or subject, uplift and encourage them.

Many parents feel that honesty is the best policy. If their child isn’t great at tennis, for instance, some parents criticise them for failing to meet their expectations.

Your teenage child is looking for support and encouragement, not disapproval and opprobrium. Instead of tearing them down, build them up. Motivate and support them. This will help them pursue a specific sport, activity, or subject with full force. They won’t be afraid to fail. Even if failure hits them, they’ll get back up and keep going because of the support and encouragement they received from their parents.

On the contrary, teenagers who don’t receive adequate validation and affirmation from their parents feel insecure and withdrawn. They gradually lose interest in the specific sport, activity, or subject, because they feel that they’ll never be good enough. Your support will go a long way in helping your child excel and feel their best. Make sure you provide it in abundance!

About the Author

The author is an education specialist at Cambridge Home School, one of the leading online schools in the UK, Europe (including Western Russia), Africa, and the Middle East.

The esteemed institution is recognised for providing a quality British education across four schools: Primary Prep/Key Stage 2 (ages 8 to 10), Lower School/Key Stage 3 (ages 11 to 13), Upper School/IGCSEs (ages 14 to 16), and Sixth Form/AS & A Levels (ages 17 to 19).

By developing an independent curriculum and hiring a team of MA/PhD qualified subject specialist teachers, Cambridge Home School is the top choice among parents who wish to provide their children a stellar online education.