How to Reach Out to Your Adolescent
Adolescence is a difficult stage to get through; your kids are under pressure from your parents, teachers and peers alike; it’s a time when they need to keep their heads on their shoulders if they’re to escape the traps of teen pregnancies, drugs, alcohol and tobacco. And the only ones who are able to get through this stage relatively unscathed are those who have understanding and mature parents or guardians. It’s hard to establish a connection with your teen, but unless you try and keep trying, you’re at risk of losing your child. If you’re looking for guidance on the best possible way to reach out to your adolescent, read on:
- Give them the power to make the choice: Children don’t respond well to force and coercion. If you tell them they must do something, it’s highly likely that they’re going to do the exact opposite. The best thing to do is inform them of the choices that are open to them, and of the consequences and rewards that each choice leads to. So it’s not just enough to tell them to abstain from premarital sex; you must educate them about the importance of safe sex.
An episode of Boston Legal featured the case of a 15-year-old girl who wished to sue her school for failing to teach them that condoms could help prevent the spread of AIDS. The school followed an abstinence only program, and the girl insisted that the administration accept some of the blame for the fact that she was HIV-positive. Teenagers are highly prone to have sex, no matter how much we preach abstinence. It’s a time when hormones run riot and you lose control when you find yourself in a tempting situation. If you taught your child about condoms and the fact that it would definitely prevent AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, he/she would definitely insist on using it.
It’s important to stay safe, no matter if your decision is regrettable. Giving them advice on safe sex is not a sign of approval; it only means that you genuinely care about them.
- Be their best friend: While this is difficult, you need to at least get them to be honest with you. They need to know that they can come to you first with any problem they face, rather than feel the need to hide it from and find a way around it somehow. Showing your children that you understand what they’re going through is the best way of reaching out to them and forming that emotional and mental connection that’s so important during adolescence.
- Stand by them: No matter what happens, you need to stand by your children. They may have erred, but the fact remains that they’re your offspring. So rather than taking them to task and ranting and raving at them, understand why they did what they did and offer them support in any way you can. Even the most recalcitrant and stubborn kids turn around and accept your guidance when you treat them with kindness and understanding in the face of trouble.
This post was contributed by Courtney Phillips, who writes about accredited homeschool class. She welcomes your feedback at CourtneyPhillips80 at gmail.com