What percentage of interaction between you and your teen is positive?

Or should I say, “perceived” positive?  I ask this question with every teenager and family I work with.  You would be surprised by the answers I receive and disconnect between parent and teen on what is actually perceived as a positive interaction between them.

The Disconnect between Parent and Teen

There are so many to-dos during the day for our teens.   Getting to school on time, getting their homework done, getting chores completed, going to their extracurricular activities, etc.  If you can imagine a day in your teen’s life you would see that they don’t have much control over their day.  They are told when to rise when to leave the house when to eat, even when they are allowed to go to the bathroom in school. Parents see the interaction with their teens as the parents best effort to keep their teens on track.  However, teens may view this as negative interaction.  Sometimes it becomes what the relationship is about; coaxing them to stay on task, getting to places on time and their to-do’s done. This perceived negative interaction can drain a relationship and begin distancing you from your teen.

3 steps on how to keep your teen on track and keep the percentage of your interaction positive at the same time.

  1. Ask them these questions:  What percentage of interaction do you view as positive between us?  Ask for each parent independently. Ask what do you attribute the negative interaction to be? How can the negative interaction be reduced?  What can they do to reduce the negative interaction?  What can you as a parent do to reduce the negative interaction?
  2. Putting expectations in place. Sitting down with your teen and asking them what they think should be expected of them with chores, and schoolwork?  What do they need from you to assist them to stay on track so the interaction doesn’t have to be negative? What is their part in keeping themselves on track so you don’t have to be negative Nelly?
  3. Make sure you have downtime with your teen.   This can be throwing the football, watching a favorite show, getting your nails done, checking out and going camping with them and their friends, taking a scheduled hooky day, planning a special vacation of their choice.

Breaking down your interactions with your teens from a place of positive can really change how you interact with your teen.