More Tips for Military Families with Teens # 34

Tip #34 – Feelings

When it comes to living with or working with teens there is a delicate balance between sharing your feelings to help them understand and sharing them to hope they understand you.  Many may disagree with me here, but teenagers – for the most part – cannot understand your feelings as theirs are too much in the picture and they don’t completely understand their own!  Have you ever tried asking your teen how they are feeling?  Their default answers are either – “I don’t know” or “Fine” (then they give you a look to tell you they think you are crazy – don’t bother telling them that they are making you that way).   They definitely aren’t ‘fine’ and they know deep down how they are feeling but need your help to put it into words.  Asking them about what they are doing or have done is a better way to get a true answer of how they are feeling since we all have emotions about things that have happened to us and it is easier to talk about a situation rather than a feeling.

Tips:

* Think about the purpose of sharing things with them

* Be sure that the conversation is something that will actually enhance their understanding of a situation and not complicate it further

* If the situation cannot be changed, be careful how much information you are sharing and the details

* Your teens are not your friends – they will be later in life but for now you are their parent.  Do not share feelings with them that you should be talking to a friend about (they only pretend to love you like a friend when they want something – harsh, I know!)

* Use language like; “What happened?”, “What did you do today?”, “What are you going to do about it?”, “What did you do today?”, etc.

The sign is for a bit of a laugh.  When you have teens, if you don’t laugh (sometimes hysterically), you will cry!

For more information about our blog, books and resources go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

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