Many parents these days are busy professionals and have many occupational responsibilities. The structure of the family unit has changed within the last decade, where both parents have careers versus just one. Because of this, it’s possible for some teens to experience their lives without too much involvement of their parents. And contributing to this, some parents simply want to know that their child is healthy, happy, and doing well in school. As long as all of this true for their child, parents may take a laissez -faire approach to their teen’s life.
However, teens still want to be connected to their parents. In fact, teens are in a precarious stage of life. They want their independence and will tend to pull away from the family but at the same time they want to hang on to the safety of their parents. Although they are eager to grow up and move out, many teens continue to yearn for the love and affection of their parents.
If you’re a parent who is concerned about your teen in any way, one of the best steps to take is to get more involved in your child’s life. If you’re worried about your teen’s mental health, grades, or peer group, then find out what’s going on. If you’re curious about the direction your teen might want to take after high school, become more involved in his or her life. Or if you’re afraid that your teen is lonely when seeing signs of depression, then talk to your teen more often. Even if he or she blows you off, as some teens might in the beginning, continue to show your sincere interest and curiosity.
Here are ways to get involved with your teen’s life:
- Attend meetings or schedule a one on one meeting with your teen’s teachers.
- Attend your teen’s sports games, plays, or other recreational activities. You don’t necessarily have to only go to the main events, attend weekend and evening practices too.
- Talk to the parents of your teen’s friends.
- Do something with your teen once per week. This might be joining a club together, reading a book together, and/or another activity that you both enjoy.
- Have more family events with all your children.
- Focus on developing a relationship with your teen, which may include honoring your teen’s independence and autonomy.
- Read notes that your teen’s teachers send home from school.
- When your teen goes out with friends, find out where your teen is going, with whom, and when he or she will be back.
These are a few suggestions for becoming more involved in your child’s life. Of course, your aim is not to invade your teen’s life. However, the above suggestions may show that you care, which can facilitate a relationship with him or her.
However, if you have any concerns about your teen’s psychological well being, contact a mental health provider.