Any parent of a teenager knows that these years are tumultuous and can be filled with heartbreak and drama. If you remember anything about your teenage years, you're probably feeling for your own teen and remembering how hard this time can be. Luckily, parents continue to have a strong influence over their teenagers even as their children are striving for their own independence. Hearing positive statements from you will let your teen know that she's loved, as well as boost her self-confidence and give her hope for the future.
I Love You
Sometimes all it takes to navigate the treacherous waters of the teenage years is to hear that someone loves you. Tell your teen that you love her often, and she's more likely to remember that when times get tough.
Many teens don't feel as though anyone wants to hear what they have to say. After all, they're still children, even though they're almost grown. Letting your child know that you're always available to listen gives your child an outlet to share concerns and challenges, as well as successes.
I'm Here For You
Everyone, no matter the age, wants to know that someone has their back. A strong support system is essential for mental health, and telling your child that you're willing to be that person can be quite reassuring.
I'm Proud of You
Children of all ages bask in the glow of a job well done, and even teens like to hear that they've done a good job. When your teen gets a good grade, aces an exam or wins a big game, congratulate her and tell her that you're proud of her efforts. Even when she fails, it's important to let her know how proud you are that she gave it a good try.
You Can Do It
Teens need encouragement on a regular basis because they're learning how to gain more independence and start to make their own life. Tell your child that she can do it whenever she takes on a new challenge. It'll give her the motivation she needs to tackle new tasks with enthusiasm.
I Like Being Your Parent
Yes, your teen will try your patience, but you'll always be glad that she's your child. Tell her that. Let her know how happy she's made your life. When your teen feels accepted, she's more likely to have a higher self-esteem, as well as come to you when she's having a difficult time.
You're Fun to Be With
When you've done something particularly enjoyable with your teen, tell her how much fun you had. Everyone wants to do entertaining things with someone who enjoys their company, and your teen is no different. As an added bonus, your teen might be more willing to spend time with you if she knows you want to do things with her.
I Look Forward To
The teen years are filled with new pursuits, such as college applications and learning to drive. Tell your child that you look forward to seeing her learn these new things and grow as a person. It'll give your child the self-confidence and determination to accomplish these new tasks.
I Trust You
If your teen hasn't given you any reason to mistrust her judgment, tell her that you trust her. Give her a few examples of times when she impressed you by making good choices and encourage her to keep using such good judgment. Chances are, she'll continue impressing you because she doesn't want to lose your trust.
No matter how much you encourage and love your teen, there will be instances when she messes up or something doesn't go her way. Console her and let her know that everything will be okay in the end. Sometimes, that's all she needs to hear to get up and try again.
- Child Trends Research Brief: Parent-Teen Relationships and Interactions -- Far More Positive Than Not
- KidsHealth.org: Nine Steps to More Effective Parenting
- Suddenly They're 13: A Parent's Survival Guide for the Adolescent Years; David and Claudia Arp
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images