How do you reconnect with a teenager who has grown distant and is rejecting you as a parent? Rabbi Shmuley shares his rules for creating a new relationship with your teenagers as they make the challenging transition from childhood to young adulthood.
- Begin to communicate differently. Give them the reasons behind your rules. Personalize the instructions you're giving them by sharing your own experiences of being a teenager.
- Start giving them privacy. Show them you acknowledge they're getting older and that their needs are changing, Rabbi Shmuley says.
- Knock before you enter your teen's room. Rabbi Shmuley says you reserve the right to enter your teen's room at any time, but when they're there, respect their privacy. "You're growing with them," he says. "You're showing that you acknowledge they're no longer just a child."
- Show them affection. Give your teen compliments, hugs and praise while limiting criticism, Rabbi Shmuley says.
- When you do choose to criticize, don't do it by yelling. Also, don't give them sob stories, he says.
- Apologize. Say you're sorry and admit your mistakes when you make them, Rabbi Shmuley says.
- Do exciting things with your teen. Rabbi Shmuley says many teenagers are justifiably bored by their parents. "Be young again," he says. "Rediscover your youth, be vibrant, do things that your kids like."
"It's never too late to reconnect with our teen kids. Nature is on our side. Beating within their breasts is an innate desire to be close to their parents. So bring that innate yearning to the fore by being an inspirational and loving parent, and apologize if you've been too harsh or too critical."