Did you know that spending 15 minutes a day listening and talking with your child can help build the foundation for a strong relationship and provide support that he/she can come to you with a problem?
Whether they are being pressured by peers to try drugs or harassed in school, possibly being bullied online, coerced to send sexual images — or engaging with less than ethical people in their virtual world, these short talks can help them not only build trust but give them a level of comfort in speaking with you.
Many parents today are working full-time (or even taken a second job), some are now taking care of their elderly parents, and most are stressed out about making ends meet financially.
By the time the evening rolls around everyone is exhausted and the last thing many parents want to do is talk. Without communication with your teenager, the risk of negative behavior is high.
Short Chats are Priceless
We need to realize short talks can be in the car going to sporting or dance practices, driving to school, or suggest they help you cook a meal together.
With short chats, you can have small doses of how you can better protect your teens from what they are facing, they do not feel as if they are boxed into a big lecture where a teen can tune you out. Now you can give them snippets of advice they are more likely to remember. Never doubt, you are their greatest influence.
Keys to C.H.A.T.
C – Communication is key. Offline parenting will help online safety. Never stop talking about your teen’s daily digital lives. It is just as important as how their day was at school. Research shares that 45% teens are online almost constantly, let’s hope yours is not one of them, but this leaves them at risk for exposure to cyberbullying, predators and scams.
H – Help is always a call/text away. Be sure your teen knows you are available to them no matter what. They should never have to fear you will judge them, especially if they are in a situation that they know you would not approve of. Their safety is your priority — always.
A – Action plans. Talk to your teen about action plans for different and/or difficult situations. If they are being harassed at school, bullied online, asked to send sexual images, considering having sex — making these conversations as short or long as they feel comfortable and, in each chat, giving them more valuable information is building their trust in you. You are your teen’s advocate, and they will eventually not only know this — but feel it.
T – Treat others as you want to be treated. It is coming back to that old cliché. It is the most important rule online and offline. Always treat people with kindness. It is a priority. With kindness comes respect — and as we know, this is a two-way street. In our short talks both parent and teen should respect each other’s opinions (even if you do not like what you hear) and discuss your reasons without arguments.
It is imperative to understand that today society the online world is as important to our teen’s lives as their daily offline world. We must also treat it that way.
Talking to them on a daily basis, even if it’s only for 10-15 minutes is essential in strengthening your relationship. Keep in mind, it’s no longer simply about how was your school day, always include what’s new in their digital world. Asking them if they meet any new virtual friends (especially if they are an active gamer), is crucial. Many young people are starting online relationships and taking it offline without their parents’ knowledge. In some situations, these are not safe.
This isn’t about being a nosey parent, it’s about being informed, educated and building a strong relationship with your teen — so they feel comfortable coming to you not only when things are good, but especially when they are struggling.
Our teens may always be an app ahead of us, but they will always need our parenting wisdom. Never stop having your short chats.
How will you start your daily 15 minutes chats?
Read: Why Teens Are Secretive About Online Their Lives.
Read: Causes of Teenage Mental Health Issues.
Has your teen become secretive, shut-down, isolated? Have you exhausted your local resources — you’re not able to get through to them? Are you concerned about their mental health? Learn more about the benefits of residential treatment for teen help — contact us.