Updated: Dec 1, 2019
My experience as an older sister is a blessing. I am the oldest of 8 and when it comes to giving advice to my younger teenage siblings it’s always a challenge to give them the best advice possible without sounding like a know-it-all mentor. Conversing with a teenager can be difficult but I have worked hard for the last three years to always keep an open door and let them know that I have their back no matter what.
Rule #1: Never give advice if you know they won’t want to hear it. Not long ago, I’ve been a teen myself and I also had my stubborn moments. The rule is simple, if they don’t want to be helped all you have to say will go in from one ear and out the next so why trouble yourself?
If you must give advice do so smartly ie. “I hear what you’re saying and as you came to me with this story or problem, I’m assuming you want some feedback. You don’t have to agree but I am entitled to share my opinion and so…” In most cases, teens don't want your opinion or advice, they just want to be heard so making yourself clear that it’s simply your opinion [Freedom of Speech:)] and they don’t have to agree gives them:
1. The feeling of independence
3. Respect, and lastly, even if they don't agree it will not escalate to a full blown argument since you are two decent people leading an adult conversation.
Rule #2 - Be real. Be honest and real when having a conversation. Even when you need to criticize. Not everything is perfect and smooth. There will been moments where criticizing is needed, and that’s ok. When you come to a point where you have mutual respect and your teen knows that you love him or her everything you have to say will be accepted in a different way. Remember: ALWAYS SAY I LOVE YOU WHEN FINISHING YOUR CRITICISM! Let them know you are still here for them no matter what.
Rule #3 - Respect your boundaries. Sharing a mutual respect is key to leading a healthy relationship. Always make sure that things are done respectfully like you would expect them to do with you.
Rule #4 - Always remind them of your love to them. Randomly sending a heart emoji, nice text or sharing a meaningful YouTube song helps them remember that they are in your thoughts. Watch how they start to reciprocate your actions of love towards you.
Rule #5 - Keep your conversations open and unlimited to all topics and questions. Talking to a teen about their relationship problems, girl drama and even sex is important to help them remember that they are no longer treated like children which will make them respect you more and be more responsible for their actions.
Rule #6 - ALWAYS think before you say something. When faced with a fragile situation, make sure you always think your conversation through before spitting words out of your mouth. This will ultimately save you in the long run.
Rule #7 - PATIENCE, PATIENCE AND MORE PATIENCE! I can't stress enough the importance of staying patient and keeping your cool even when all you want to do is shake them up a bit. No matter the situation, remaining calm will help avoid all sorts of unnecessary arguments and keep you at least semi on the right track. From my own personal experience, taking a few deep breaths when all you want to do is scream can be very beneficial for both yourself and your relationship:)