Practical tips and skills from Wyndham Youth Services to help parents and carers tune in to young people.

Do you sometimes find yourself struggling to connect with your teen?

Does it all of a sudden feel like your relationship with your teen in completely different and you’re not sure why or when it happened?

Not to worry. You are not alone in this experience. The transition from childhood to adolescence is a big one, not only for our young people but also for their loved ones.

You may notice that they become far more interested in their friends than the people at home, that they want to spend more time alone and you might also notice that they are beginning to challenge things they never use to challenge.

This is all a perfectly normal part of adolescence and it is in fact a really important time for their development into becoming independent adults.

That’s not to say that it is easy on anyone though.

We often hear parents and carers say things like ‘I just can’t seem to get through to them’, ‘I don’t know who they are anymore… they used to love…’, ‘I just want us to connect/ talk like we used to’.

What we are hearing from parents and carers is that they want to keep their strong relationship with their child as they move through this next phase of their life.

So, how do we do that?

  • We remain engaged in their lives. Show up for sporting games, performances, presentation nights as often as you can.
  • Show genuine interest in the things that are important to them. If they are loving a series on Netflix, watch a couple of episodes with them. Ask questions about what it is they like about it (not during the show, of course). Ask about the subjects they are enjoying. Go outside and practice with them.
  • Invite them to participate in things you enjoy.
  • Designate time for just you two.

This will then help you to gain a fresh understanding into your young person’s life and let them know that you are still invested and interested in what’s happening in their world.

They may not always want to talk or hang out and that’s ok, the moments when they do will be extra special.

Try a couple of these suggestions and let us know how you go.

If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program please email us at [email protected]