It’s common for teens to shut out their parents or rebel. As a teen I often felt misunderstood, but having my parents there to support me was so helpful, even if wasn’t able to show them appreciation at that time.
What teens wish their parents would do for them
1. Be their biggest fans
Although teens will never admit it, they truly love when their parents are there to support them. This includes watching their sports games or attending their musical performances. Teens may act embarrassed but it is very special for them to have their parents cheering them on. Also, doing something fun as a family after a sports game or performance is always welcome, such as going out to dinner or getting ice cream. It is the small moments like these that bring so much joy to teens and that they will remember forever.
2. Welcome their friends over
Teens love when their parents treat their friends almost as bonus children, basically welcoming their friends over for dinner or bringing their friends to family activities such as hikes or bike rides. When parents welcome their friends with open arms and no judgment it is the best feeling.
3. Ask about their day
Even though this seems very basic, it is so wonderful knowing that someone cares about you. Being a teen is so stressful so even little things such as asking how they are doing is welcome.
4. Surprise them with little gifts
Getting little gifts for holidays or special occasions is something that makes a teen feel special and valued. Teens love when their parents give them small surprises, even just a token for when the teen is stressed out. A small gift can make their whole day. You can get them their favorite dessert or make a mini care package with candy, chapstick, face masks, etc.
5. Respect their alone time
Teens love when you respect the fact that they like spending time in their room or time alone. Many teens will hide in their rooms because it is their safe space. Don’t force them to come out and interact with people if they aren’t in the mood.
6. Respect their privacy
Teens appreciate parents who trust them enough to not go through their stuff or read their text messages. Going through their stuff or reading their texts can destroy your teen’s trust in you and once damaged it can be hard to rebuild trust.
7. Give them advice
When parents give their kids their honest advice, teens really cherish this. Teens can be scared to go to their parents for advice, but when you are honest and open with them, they feel that they can trust you. Also, when you give them advice without lecturing or belittling them for their decisions, this is so helpful, and will allow them to be more open and honest with you in the future.
8. Make family dinners
Even if they don’t act like it, teens enjoy family dinners. The time with family allows them to wind down and talk about their day. It is a great way to bond as a family and spend time with all of your kids.
9. Approve of them
Even if your teen rebels or does things that annoy you, in reality, they truly just want your approval and to make you happy. Make sure to tell them that you are proud of them, even for simple accomplishments such as getting an A on a test or making the school sports team, or even if (or maybe especially if) they didn’t get an A or make the sports team.
10. Write a kind note
Giving your child a kind and supportive note either before an exam, sports game, or performance can make their whole day. It shows them how much you care and can make them feel special.
11. Show affection
Teens love when their parents show affection towards them. Giving them hugs and showing your love for them makes the teenage years much brighter and happier.
12. Say “I love you”
Even the simplest things like saying “I love you” lets your teen know they are loved and appreciated. You can also tell them what you love about them, such as their ambition or their kindness. This will instill confidence and self-love in your child when you consistently make them understand their self-worth.
13. Engage in deep conversations
Deep conversations can be about anything such as life, religion, the future, or relationships. This will help your teen gain trust in you and feel like they can be open with you no matter what the topic is.
14. Have one-on-one time with them
One-on-one time is a key part of having a healthy relationship with your children. Doing fun things one-on-one with each child allows them to feel more like an individual and lets the two of you really get to know each other.
Being a teen can be very stressful, but having parents who are supportive and loving makes the teenage years much better. Even if your teen lashes out, it is important to remember that especially right now, many teens are struggling. Be mindful of this and continue to show your unconditional love for your teen.