I have two children who are now both in their teens. Of late, I feel as though communicating with them has become much harder than it ever was. My biggest worry is that I may not be able to keep them disciplined with the breakdown in communication. What advice if any do you have for me? Jerome, Kimicanga.
Thank you for raising this issue. Many parents indeed find it hard to deal with teenage children since this is the stage at which several changes are occuring in their lives be it physical, emotional or psychological. It is a time of rapid change.
A parent needs to first accept that a child has to grow and become an independent adult. This is the time where decisions should be made together in consultation. Listen to what they have to say even if you do not agree with them.
Try to be supportive and not criticise them all the time. It is important to listen more than speak to them but also to find time to spend with them. Teenagers are often busy with school and other interests but it pays to find the time to bond with them. A small chat over dinner can do wonders.
Do not forget to give them their privacy when they need it. Give them their space and when entering their rooms make it a point to knock. Yes, it is your house but they need to be respected.
Above all continue to love them and respect them. You will have to continuously build trust with them if communication is to get easier.