Your fear can be the one thing that holds you back from having a great relationship with your teen.
In the CNN article "OMG! Your teen actually talks to you!," was a classic case, of providing basic techniques on the ways to get your teens to talk. The article mentioned that one of the biggest mistakes parents make is not being honest with themselves about how strongly they already feel about topics such as teens engaging in sex, driving, and using drugs and alcohol, said Vicki Hoefle, author of the book Duct Tape Parenting.
What if you have tried every trick in the book to engage your teen, but still nothing worked? Our biggest problem as parents is we crave the same connection that we give our children. Remember how our children used to run to us after picking them up at daycare, or how they would run to the door after a long day of work?
When our children become teens that stops almost overnight and we are not prepared. One of the major reasons it bothers us is because of our fears. We know teens have fears because it's a natural part of development. What is different about today is that we want to shield our teens from any pain imaginable, but we also know we are powerless to control that.
Another reason we get frustrated by our lack of communication is because we somehow feel that prolonged silence by our teen means they are troubled and that without an action on our part it will eventually lead to bad behavior from our teen. We as parents, are not trying to be the lead story on the six o'clock news because our child did something wrong, it reflects upon our parenting.
According to a report in the Chicago Magazine's: The Secret Life of Teens, teen fear is different from what we feared. It ranges from decisions to try drugs or alcohol, bullying, sex, body image and violence. Our fears are based on what we call in life coaching, energy blocks. Those energy blocks are assumptions, interpretations, gremlins and limiting beliefs around parenting.
Assumptions are things you believe are true and factual and it is used as a starting point for a course of action or reasoning. For example, you may assume since all teens are engaging in sexual activity, your teen is going to do the same thing, so you interact with them accordingly.
Instead of asking open-ended questions on their feelings about sex and sexuality, you may start at a point they are not comfortable in discussing just yet. Interpretation is based on what you actually see and that determines your action, but what lies underneath may be the true reason for our teens actions.
When you interpret something, you create an opinion about an event, situation, or experience. In essence, you have become judge and jury over your child's actions before the truth comes out. However, once you have settled on an opinion you are in essence wearing blinders that prevent you from being aware of what else is possible and it affects your emotions and actions toward your teen and how they react towards you.
A "gremlin" is based on feelings of inadequacy and it is often hidden. You may project to our friends and co-workers that your parent/teen relationship is great, but on the inside you feel just the opposite based on not feeling good enough. During a crisis situation, these gremlins will bubble to the surface.
Limiting Beliefs are core underlying beliefs that are normally subconscious that represent our world view, our basic perspective on life. For example, deep down you may believe that teenagers just don't make good decisions, so when your teen comes to you with an idea; you automatically shoot it down without listening.
If we carry one, or all of these energy blocks around when we interact daily with our teens, it can slowly impact our relationship with them because we usually do not want to appear vulnerable. It will impact how we talk to them, discipline them and advise them.
In order to bring your relationship more in line to where you want it to be, you will have to shift your mindset to a more "Coach Approach" to parenting your teens, as written by the author of The Parent as Coach Approach, by Diana Sterling.
Remember earlier when I mentioned our need to hear stories from our young kids? That was a natural progression in the parent/child behavior. At that stage we are acting as their teacher and it's our time to nurture. By the time our children reach their "tweens," our parenting style shifts to a more administrative role. We manage their events and schedules, in order to initiate activities and social interaction.
By the teen years they are looking and even craving a role change that will allow them a little more autonomy. Instead of being anxious about your role change, embrace it. Keep reading...
More advice on parenting styles on YourTango: