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How to Win Back Your Teenager

by Anna Green

The teenage years are one of the most volatile times for both adolescents and their parents. Whether you have lost trust and rapport with your teenager because of divorce or everyday conflicts that have spiraled out of control, with patience and love, you may be able to win back your teen. When you have lost your teenager, patience can be a key to success. Because teens have a developmental need to form their own identities and begin to withdraw from the family, it may take time to reengage with your teenager, but consistent love will show your teen that you care.

Learn about your teenager’s needs. Talk to him about what went wrong in your relationship. Although he may be reluctant to talk to you about his anger, sadness or frustration, understanding his point of view will give you a starting point for rebuilding the relationship, advises the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Once you hear your teenager’s perspective, show respect for his viewpoint, even if you do not agree with it.

Find common ground. Take time to find commonalities that you share, suggests HelpGuide.org. This could be a shared interest, such as a sport, or similar values, beliefs or perspectives on the situation. Point out this common ground to your teenager and help her see that while you may not see eye to eye on every issue, you still share some commonalities.

Display genuine warmth. If your teenager does not trust your intentions, he will likely see through any disingenuous attempts to rebuild the relationship. Thus, it is crucial that your love and support are sincere, explains WebMD. If you cannot offer genuine, sincere support for your teenager, then it might be a good idea to work through your own frustrations before trying to win back your teenager, as any false emotions may backfire.

Be patient. Winning back a teenager can take time, so give you and your adolescent time to process the difficult emotions and move slowly as you rebuild your relationship, advises Clinical Psychologist Laura Markham of the website Aha! Parenting. For example, if you and your spouse are divorced and your teen refuses to see you, accept this and try again later. Forcing your teen to interact with you might only serve to isolate her further.

Seek out family therapy. Family counseling services can be an effective way to foster candid communications between parents and teens. These services can be particularly useful after a divorce, in situations where the child is siding with the other parent. A professional family therapist can provide a safe space for each of you to share your viewpoints, as well as specific suggestions for how to rebuild your bond.

About the Author

Anna Green has been published in the "Journal of Counselor Education and Supervision" and has been featured regularly in "Counseling News and Notes," Keys Weekly newspapers, "Travel Host Magazine" and "Travel South." After earning degrees in political science and English, she attended law school, then earned her master's of science in mental health counseling. She is the founder of a nonprofit mental health group and personal coaching service.

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