Parenting

Teenage/Parent Relationships

Camilla, number 8 in the Sinclair lineup, is thirteen years old. She starts off this series of questions about building and safeguarding relationships between parents and children. These are her insights!

Q – What can a mom do to improve or facilitate her relationship with her teenage children?

:: Spending more time with them is one of the first steps, but eventually you need to move a little more ahead. You need to be their best friend for everything. Not just every day things, but personal things, too. Yes, it’s good to know what their favorite types of clothing are…when you’re shopping for their birthday. Do you know what’s really going on in their life? How is their walk with God going? Have they been getting anything out of what they’ve been reading in the bible? How is/are their relationship(s) with their sibling(s) going? You need to know those things, too.


Q – What things hinder the relationship?

:: A teenage daughter or son can easily be persuaded by thoughts that the relationship that you’re trying to build with them isn’t really true. It’s a fake. A bluff. That you don’t really care about them that much. That you don’t really care about the relationship at all. Is that true? No. Try to show that all that you are doing to help build your relationship with them isn’t a fake. You really do care about them. You love them. A lot.

:: For some reason teenage kids always think that getting all personal and having a good relationship with their parents would be awkward. It’s something that they all think. They think it would be weird. They try to avoid all personal conversations with you, and even try to stay away from any activities that might involve anything like personal conversations. At some point they will recognize that you’re not going to give up on building that relationship with them. And at some point they will turn to you for help.

Q – How do you work on building bridges?

:: Nowadays your children are growing up thinking that they’re idiots. That they’re not smart, when really, they are. Encourage them in every subject, no matter what, even the ones that they might not be the strongest in. It will help your relationship grow, along with many other things.

:: How much time do you spend with them? How much time do you spend with them alone, just you and your kid? Something that I’ve always remembered were the times when it was just me and my mom going on a shopping trip to Massena to get a few odds ‘n ends. We would leave right after lunch and spend the whole afternoon there, just the two of us. That’s it.

:: Your children grow up thinking that you’re the mom in the family, and nothing more to them. You give them chores, have them do homework, practice if they play an instrument, sometimes have them make dinner, etc. That’s what they think of when they think of “mom.” The truth is that you’re not just that. You’re someone that’s constantly there when they need something. You’re their number one fan when their playing a sport, the one that’s cheering for them every second of the game, even if they’re not doing so well. You’re the one clapping the loudest at the recital because you love them and how wonderfully talented God made them. . .they notice it. They see you cheering and clapping for them. Keep showing that love and in return they’re going to show their love to you.

Discussion

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  1. Great post, Camilla! Thanks for input from a (very insightful) teen’s point of view!

    Posted by diane romlein | February 9, 2009, 5:45 am
  2. such wisdom at 13! You can tell you had a mom that modeled what you are talking about. I will remember your words when my kids are teens…I try not to think too much about it now. :)

    Posted by Gina Murawski | February 9, 2009, 3:42 pm
  3. My sister and I (14 and 12) really enjoyed your awesome post. It really challenged us to get more serious about pursuing our relationship with our parents. It’s cool to know that someone else believes in what we believe in as well. We think you are a very gifted writer.

    Gratefully, Abbie and Emma Simmons

    Posted by Abbie and Emma Simmons | February 9, 2009, 7:32 pm