I promise you can relate to your teenager.
If they share with you an issue that is going on in their life, you've got to embrace it.
I'm tellin you, no matter how embarrassing it feels or how uncomfortable you get,
and no matter how inclined you are to want to bolt, just stay. Breathe.
I had one of these moments yesterday with my daughter. I won't get into detail but I can tell you I wanted to FLEE.
BUT, I quickly remembered that she is opening up to me, and that is to be cherished and I didn't want to ruin the moment.
It was one of those topics that you'd prefer to avoid, but you know you can't as a parent.
So I used the tactic of going back in my brain to when I was her age, and how I went through something similar. It saved the moment! I retreated back to a time when I felt the way she did and when I had done something similar, and instead of being judgmental and controlling, I told her that I had been there, and that I understood. I was able to "go back in time" quickly enough to help her.
In remembering that I had been there too, I could offer advice and insight that I otherwise wouldn't have been able to. Knowing that I had been through something so similar made me normal. It showed her what I had learned from the situation. She was so super grateful for the new perspective I could give her. Because that is, after all, mostly what our kids need, new perspectives. (I'll be blogging on this soon)
I know there are times when you feel like you can't relate to your teenager, but I submit to you that you CAN. It's just a matter of us going back in time, and remembering that you've probably felt, done, and seen all or more of what they have--so tap into that, take advantage of that, make that work in your favor, so in turn it works in their favor.
It's a win win for both of you. You will have kept your cool as a parent, yet guided and helped your kid--and they will have learned to trust you just a bit more and more than likely come back to you for more insight.
Our teenagers are not aliens like most people think. I mean, honestly I think teenagers get a bad rap. Just be REAL. Be HONEST. Be PATIENT. Be UNDERSTANDING. LISTEN. RELATE. RESPOND, DON'T REACT.
You've been their age before so how can you not relate? Find a way. Our kids need us to get on their level; we need to gain their trust, it's not just us needing to gain their trust.
So take a trip down memory lane, and find a way to connect with your kid. And remember--you've been there.