Teens Should Be Able To Express Themselves
Copyright 2008 Heaven Ministries - Angie Lewis

 

Parents should always give their teenagers a chance to express themselves, and teenagers should not be afraid to talk to their parents. If either is stifled then there is something wrong with the relationship. Usually when a child/teen is afraid or intimidated to talk about their feelings and opinions it is because they have been denounced by one or both parents. When a teenager try's to express themselves with a parent they should listen carefully, and if you disagree with something they are saying, or disagree with their opinion on something, a parent can tell them so without invalidating their feelings in the process. This is one of the main reasons that teenagers stop telling their parents how they are feeling, or their opinions on things. 

Teenagers often equate and identify themselves with their feelings and when a parent invalidates the way they feel the teenager may take it more personal than they should. Highly sensitive children are more prone to taking everything you say with judgment against self, even if it is not actually directed at them but about something they said. The highly sensitive teenager is also more concerned about what their parents think of them - they are always wanting to please, and that is not a bad thing, but it can be if they turn that pleasing attitude into resentment...because what pleases the parent does not always please the teenager. 

Even so...teenagers should never be allowed to suppress their feelings and emotions because that is when anger management problems and other emotional qualms will begin to surface in your teen. Make them feel comfortable talking with you so they will feel good about expressing themselves freely. Teenagers NEED to get their emotions out from within them, otherwise they tend to explode like a bomb at any given time, and without notice to you. 

How can parents get their teenagers to trust them enough to talk about their feelings and express themselves? By letting your teen see you are genuinely interested in what they are interested in, and to talk about those things they are interested in with them. Help them to grow more into the person they are intended to be through their Creator. What are they interested in? What are their hobbies? Let your teen move in the direction that comes natural for them.  Get involved in your children's life by supporting them and encouraging them in their endeavors, activities, hobbies, and life. They certainly will not stay a teenager forever, so parents should enjoy these times now while they can. 

Too many times I see parents pushing their teenagers to excel in something that does not interest them whatsoever, but out of the "wanting to please attitude", the teen does what parents want, but that's not right. They will feel resentful over it in the long run. And so this is one big reason why teenagers need to express themselves and what they want to do, and parents need to let their teen become who they want to be in the Lord. 

I don't know how many times I have heard how young adults went to college to study what their parents wanted them to be, wasting four to eight years, and then later they ended up doing what they wanted in the first place! What a waste of time, money, and talent!

Teenagers need love shown to them on a daily basis, not just when you're not busy from work. Parents are the main people in a teens life and they need your approval and understanding more than anything else. It is always the parent(s) who instills the kind of self image a child will grow up with. If you want your child to have a good self image when he or she becomes an adult, be involved with their lives now! Be a family - do things together and have fun!