Although we usually think about love as a necessity for young children, teens also need the same special feelings of love and affection from their parents, as they get older. The way love is expressed by parents, however, may need to be changed according to the various stages in teens’ lives. Love for teenagers does not mean buying them a lollypop or allowing them to stay up a little longer. Love for most teenagers is best expressed when a parent is able to understand their needs and is willing to listen to their inner issues. For a teenager, “to understand me,” means, “to love me.”
Although teens aren’t always easy to deal with and your relationship with your teenager may be strained, it’s crucial to continue to express feelings of love and kindness and give your child a sense that you care about him or her. More than anything else, teenagers at risk need friendly and loving parents who are able to spend enjoyable time with them without criticizing them or making them feel that they are being unjustly controlled.
Relationship Test: How often do you nurture your teen’s need for love and relationship?
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Never Rarely Constantly
Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, is the Executive Director of Shalom Task Force and author of “At Risk – Never Beyond Reach” and “First Aid for Jewish Marriages.” To order a copy, visit www.JewishMarriageSupport.com. For more information about Shalom Task Force, please visit www.shalomtaskforce.org. You can e-mail questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.