3 Tips to Strengthen Your Teen-Parent Relationship
As a group of parents who realised that our daughters are on the cusp of what will be the most exciting but also the most terrifying time of their lives, we decided to pool our expertise and devising a series of workshops that will help young teenagers navigate the often choppy waters of young womanhood.
We’re honest, open, frank and sex-positive. We don’t believe in shame of any sort and we preach good communication, respect and tolerance. Crucially, we practice what we preach so we are open to being challenged if we are not walking our talk. You can find out more about the upcoming ‘Girls United’ course here.
In the meantime, here are 3 tips that I have used with my teenagers which have worked to facilitate the kind of positive growth we’re talking about.
1. It can be difficult for our tweens and teens to talk to us. Years ago I implemented a system with my girls that facilitates communication.
Each of them has a special journal that is solely used for conversations between us. If my child needs to let me know something, but can’t bear to tell me to
my face, she can write it in the journal and leave it on my bed for me. I then write a response and leave it back on her bed. The journal keeps yo-yoing
back and forth until the issue has been resolved.
2. I believe in ‘incremental independence’ – allowing my children the opportunity to do what they feel capable of doing when they feel capable of doing it; whether that’s cooking a meal from scratch or getting the bus on their own.
For each child, the age they feel ready for different things is different. The added bonus of this is that if they don’t feel ready for something, they have no issue saying so, because they know that nothing is ‘expected’ of them other than that they are kind to themselves, other people and animals.
3. From the time they were tiny, I have taught my children that their bodies belong to them and that no one is allowed to touch them anywhere without their permission. It doesn’t matter who that person is – a teacher, a doctor, a relative, a friend, a friend of mine, me….no one. Now that they are teens, this has translated into a very healthy sense of ownership of themselves. They are so self-assured, and their boundaries are so solid that even being cat-called in the street (which happens, even with young teens) is not something that they will accept. It also means that I have had to accept that I am not ‘entitled’ to hugs from my kids and must ask first.
We would love you and your daughters aged (12-15) to join us for the first session on May 28th. We will explore what challenges have been thrown at them so as to help shape this and future courses. Our 7 week course Girls United: A Journey into Awesomeness starts Saturday 28th May and runs until Saturday 16th July.