Is it reasonable to expect some connection with your teenager?
Are teenagers automatically programmed to reject you as their parents?
I was recently asked in my facebook group how a mum could connect with her teenage son. And, now I think about it, a friend of mine with little boys told me a while ago that she was dreading the time when her little bundles of cuddles started to reject her affection. She didn’t know if there was anything she could do about it.
When I asked the mum in my group a little bit more about connection with her son, it was really about her sense of rejection, and of course she didn’t like that feeling. Who would? That’s a normal reaction.
I asked her to consider why her son might be connecting with her less.
It could be that her son is becoming more independent and this is a completely normal part of growing up. We want them to become more mature and less dependent on us. But at the same time, some parents mourn the loss of that cute little child who ran to them for a cuddle when they were upset.
It could be that her son wants a bit more privacy and again this is a normal part of growing up.
It could be that she was wanting to connect with her son at a time when he didn’t want to, for example, at the school gate or when he’s getting ready for bed.
Connection is a fundamental need for us as humans. In more primitive times it was essential that we were connected with our tribe. If we lost connection it could be critical. We could be thrown out of the camp and have to survive by ourselves. That would have been extremely difficult with sabre toothed tigers around every corner! Of course, these days we don’t have the same kind of threats, but our brains still tell us that we need connection.
Teenagers do a very good impression of letting us know that they don’t need us and that they can cope with everything so much better without us. It’s actually not true. They value our support and love just as much as when they were 2. They just don’t quite know it. So your challenge, as a parent, is to brush aside the stroppy rejection and try to find an acceptable way to show them that you are there for them.
And of course if you’d like to talk through ways you can improve your relationship with your teenager just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07941 320527 and I’ll give you some quick tips and longer term solutions.
Most of all I want to say to you be persistent and know deep down that your teen really needs connection with you.