Toddlers become teenagers way too fast, and many parents worry about what their adorable child will become. Most teens do very well, especially when supported by parents who play an important role in helping their children mature. Research shows that teens thrive when they have strong relationships with supportive adults.
Healthy relationships develop over years and their foundation is effective communication. Here, Richard Chung, MD, an expert in adolescent medicine at Duke, explains how you can open the lines of communication, and foster that strong relationship with your child now and as they become teenagers.
- Kids don’t talk to strangers: The more involved you are with your child’s lives, the more impact you conversations with your child will have. Being involved should start early on. Make it a habit to spend one-on-one time with your child on a regular basis.
- Teens need parents, not referees: Make it a habit early on to actively praise your child whenever it’s appropriate. It’s OK to offer constructive feedback, but balance it with a healthy dose of praise.
- I learned it by watching you: If you aren’t able to share information about your life with your children, they are unlikely to do so with you. Parents are role models who should lead by example. Share stories about your childhood and what’s going on in your world currently. Establish a sense of openness that invites them to respond in kind.
For more tips on building a relationship with your children and teens, read the full post at DukeHealth.org. Duke Medicine, Go Ask Mom's sponsor, offers health tips and information every Tuesday.