The Take a Hike team of staff is a unique group including a full-time clinical counsellor for every classroom. Our students and oftentimes their families face some incredibly complex challenges. The role of our therapists is imperative to the success of the program.
We asked Klaus Klein, Take a Hike therapist since 2000 to share some advice for parents looking to build a better relationship with their teen. Here are his top 7 tips:
1. Take responsibility and control for your behaviour first
Shouting pushes teens away. Being calm in stressful situations draws teens closer. This will have the greatest impact on your son or daughter – more than any lecture you give.
2. Make clear statements that don’t need to be debated
Don’t get pulled into defending your values, and stick to a statement you’ve made.
3. Communicate something positive but genuine
If your teen speaks to you with respect then acknowledge it. If they did something you liked let them know. Be creative but natural.
4. Listen first
This doesn't mean you agree with what they are telling you. What you are doing is validating the fact that they are talking to you and sharing their ideas. Teens like to be listened to – even if their ideas are different than yours.
5. Let your teen take responsibility for their own emotions
If they are sad, angry, or upset, validate their feelings but you don’t need to rescue them. They’ll figure it out and grow.
6. Get the right support
If you’re feeling isolated, confused, and overwhelmed you could use some help to take care of yourself. Your kids can fall apart but they need you to be
the adult that can handle them. As a parent you’ll need to connect with other adults or professionals that can help you through this time.
7. Work with your school program
Your son or daughter spends most of her day in school. Being in contact with the school staff that work with your teen can be the most important relationship you develop during your son or daughter’s teen years.
– Contributed by Klaus Klein, MA, Registered Clinical Counsellor, Take a Hike therapist