Reading teens’ behaviour

Parents often say that they feel unappreciated by their teens. But if parents are observant, they may notice the small things that are signals that can tell parents that they are appreciated.

Parents often say that they feel unappreciated by their teens.

But if parents are observant, they may notice the small things that are signals that can tell parents that they are appreciated.

A smile, a gesture, a teen coming into a room where you are, (event if he just looks at you), are signs of connection.

Be happy with small indications of affection and connection. Your teen may accompany you on an errand, occasionally spend part of the day with you, talk in the car, or offer to show you something on the computer or an interesting television show.

If your teen invites you to come shopping, go to a movie, asks to come along with you somewhere, or initiates a conversation, be sure to respond and take that opportunity.

Take an interest in what your teen is interested in. Even if you find the activity, movie, or music not to your taste, it should be important to you, simply because it is important to your teen.

Don’t expect to hear a lot of thank-yous. Be prepared to ignore some rolling eyes and bored body language.

If your teen says he or she doesn’t care if you come to a sports event, school assembly, or any other activity at which parents are welcome, don’t take that too literally. You will likely never be told by your teen, ‘It would mean a lot to me if you were there,’ but in reality, your presence will have meaning for them. Parents who attend these events send a strong message of love and support to their teens.

It may be helpful for parents to remember how they felt as teens.

It was a time of rapid development, of coping with the challenges of emotional and physical maturing. You may have thought your parents would always be there, and taken their support for granted.

And you probably thought your parents were incredibly old. Do the math and you may be surprised to find that you are now as old as they were, or older!

As teenagers get older and work through the stages of adolescent development, they begin to see the value of their parents’ views.

A quote attributed to Mark Twain illustrates this, “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

The changing perspectives of teens as they grow up was examined in a British poll published early this year in the Daily Mail, which indicated that not until around the age of 22 years do young people begin to appreciate their parents.

After leaving home, more than half the young people surveyed said they missed having their parents looking after them.

More than 70 per cent of the respondents thought they ‘knew it all’ in their teens. As young people approach their mid-20s, they look to their parents for answers to questions about home ownership, parenting, finances, and work.

While you are waiting for those days to come, I am not suggesting, that parents put up with sullenness or a lack of manners just because they now are parenting teenagers.

I think that despite the many changes and challenges that teens face, everyone in the family still should be treated with some basic courtesy.

Teens may rebel against some of their parent’s expectations, but it can help to frame these expectations as being what an adult room-mate, co-worker, or spouse would expect.

When you ask if your teen will be home after school for supper, you are not ‘treating her like a child’, but needing information that you would expect from any family member, from an invited dinner guest, or from a partner or spouse. It is unfair to expect someone to prepare a meal and not give them the courtesy of knowing how many people will be there to eat it.

The same is true with evening curfews-needing to know at approximately what time your teen will be safely home, is not being intrusive or overly strict. After all, you would expect adults, such as a spouse, roommate or house guest to let you know if they were not coming home or were spending the night somewhere other than home.

So, take comfort from small signals of appreciation.

When your teen asks for your help, that is a message that they respect your knowledge, and believe you can be counted on.

Positive Parenting appears every week in LIFE. This week’s column was written by Laurie Lafortune, co-ordinator with Family Services of Central Alberta. Lafortune can be reached by calling 403-343-6400 or www.fsca.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Thursday that the province reported the first case of the B.1.617 variant. (Photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears record number of active COVID-19 cases

Alberta reports 1,857 new cases of COVID-19, 1,326 new variants

The Bowden Institution medium security facility is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Central Alberta Addiction centre faces COVID-19 outbreak

18 test positive at iRecover Treatment Centre in Tees

A cleaner goes into Red Deer’s Canada Post sorting facility near 67th Street and Taylor Drive on Thursday morning. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Employee tests positive for COVID-19 at Red Deer Canada Post mail sorting facility

Canada Post has confirmed an employee at the Red Deer mail processing… Continue reading

Two people (not in photo) are facing charges following a Sept. 20, 2020 anti-racism rally in Red Deer.
Advocate file photo
Woman charged in Red Deer anti-racism rally going to trial

Calgary woman facing a charge of assault with a weapon in connection with Sept. 20, 2020 rally

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley was in Red Deer Wednesday and addressed a number of different political topics affecting central Alberta. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Notley talks RDC, UCP draft K-6 curriculum in visit to Red Deer

Rachel Notley had only proposed a solution hours before she arrived in… Continue reading

Westerner Park’s Exhibition Hall was used as a vaccination clinic on Wednesday. A steady stream of people came to get their COVID-19 shots either by appointment or as walk-ins. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
No long lineups at walk-in vaccination site in Red Deer

A steady stream of people walked into Westerner Park on Wednesday to… Continue reading

File photo
Expert says Saskatchewan should consider more targeted vaccine plan as variants surge

SASKATOON — Nazeem Muhajarine says he feels a sense of relief after… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising Canada will slash its… Continue reading

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland holds a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
More supply needed to ease housing price crunch, but always more to do, Freeland says

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says the country needs a boost… Continue reading

Smoke pours from the stacks at the Portlands Energy Centre in Toronto on Thursday January 15, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Risk experts say climate change to take big chunk of Canadian economy by 2050

One of the world’s largest insurers says Canadians will be more than… Continue reading

A Blanding’s turtle (Gabrielle Fortin/Contributed)
Earth Day: Finding hope in an old sweater

During the pandemic, many of us have spent several months at home.… Continue reading

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says 1.7 million reusable masks have been ordered at a cost of $4.2 million.” (Advocate file photo).
Alberta teachers and education minister swap accusations of politicizing curriculum

EDMONTON — Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says the group representing Alberta teachers… Continue reading

FILE - In this March 19, 2021, file photo, people take pictures of the Olympic rings installed by the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated. This of course is spilling over to concerns about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that open in just over three months.(AP Photo/Hiro Komae, File)
Olympic bodies launch competitive series in virtual sports

Olympic body hopes to reach more young people

Most Read