How to Understand Your Teenager with Counseling Skills
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How to Understand Your Teenager with Counseling Skills

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Navigate the turbulent teen years.

Teenagers are just the worst, right? At least, that’s what you’re taught to expect as a parent. Even though you’ve been through those turbulent teen years yourself, it can be hard to remember how you felt back then when dealing with your own teenaged child. Arguments over messy rooms, poor grades, or bad behavior are struggles that have no positive results and some days, you might want to give up altogether. But building active listening, empathy, and positive confrontation skills could make a difference! Here’s how ICS Canada’s Counselling Skills Program can help you navigate the ups and downs of your child’s teen years.

First thing: don’t think you’re not a great parent if you have to learn some new skills!

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that absolutely no one is perfect. If someone says they are, they’re a little out of touch with reality. It’s not shameful or failing if you look for new resources and knowledge to better understand your children. In fact, that makes you an even better parent. So, before you beat yourself up or convince yourself that you’re not a good parent because you have to seek out advice on dealing with a moody kid, consider this: The fact that you care enough to get it right means you’re amazing.

Empathize with your teen to understand them better.

Understanding what someone else is going through and how to share and talk through the experience is a powerful social skill. Empathy, the ability to look at an emotion or thought from the point of view of the other person, is vital to building relationships. While everyone has the potential to be good at empathizing with others, it’s also a skill that can take work. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, especially someone who is upsetting you, can be frustrating. Strengthening your empathy skills, however, can make getting along with and helping your child through rough patches just a bit easier.

Learning how to use empathy effectively can make a big impact. Besides helping you remember what it felt like when you were your child’s age, it can also make them feel safe and seen even through challenging arguments.

Actively listen before getting angry.

When emotions are high, actually listening to what someone else is saying isn’t easy. You want to be angry, sad, and you may want to shout or cry. Those are valid emotional responses! But when you’re trying to understand and deal with a teenager who broke the rules or needs to share something you may not like, hearing what they’re saying before reacting to it goes a long way.

Active listening means just that: being an active part of the conversation and focusing on what the other person is saying. You are actively present for that interaction. When you’re trying to figure out what’s happening in your teen’s life, making the effort to let them know they’re heard can help you resolve the problem as soon as possible. Building that trust as your teen gets older can lead to more open communication and a better relationship.

This skill isn’t learned overnight and it’s something everyone should work on. Studying the best approaches to active listening can build a stronger foundation for your relationships with the people in your life.

Calmly confront issues that come up.

No matter how good of a relationship you have with your children, there will be times when you need to confront them directly about their behavior. While everyone wants to be less like a “regular” parent and more like a “cool” parent, your teenager isn’t going to learn and grow without some challenges. Even the most well-behaved kid will find themselves making mistakes, so understanding how to constructively confront and challenge their bad behavior is crucial. It’s also important to remember that useful confrontation can work without being too rigid. You don’t have to be the tough, no-nonsense parent to get your point across.

How can you confront them without jumping directly to blame and punishment? How can you use what happened to help them understand what they did wrong and ways they can fix it? Learning to use confrontation with the goal of a positive outcome for both sides of the argument can not only help you teenager learn and grow, it can help you strengthen your relationship with them as they get older.

H4: Sharpen your skills to build stronger relationships.

Knowing how to address issues and turn them into teachable moments is a hurdle every parent — and even those without children – can use in everyday life. Learning and building those skills that can help you understand your child and make them feel seen and heard can be a lifetime project, but you can get started with ICS Canada’s online Counselling Skills Program. Find out more about the course and how it can help by speaking with an Admissions Specialist today at 1.888.427.2400.

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