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How Can I Show My Teen They Matter?

a hug between a mom and daughter, showing how much they matter to one another

As parents, our children are genuinely the thing that matters most to us. However, as they transition into their teenage years, we often start to feel pushback. They may begin to think we don't care about them, leading to tension at home. At WeThrive Learning, we believe that restoring and nurturing the relationship you desire with your teen should be a priority. Here are three strategies to help lower that tension and make it clear to your child that they matter. These strategies are developed and noted from the book by Jennifer Waller, Never Enough.

Control Your Expectations

One of the primary sources of tension between parents and teens is the feeling of not meeting expectations. When children perceive that their love and acceptance are contingent on their performance, it can damage their self-esteem and the parent-child bond. Although this may not be the message you intend to send, teens often interpret criticism as rejection.

To combat this, take a step back and evaluate your expectations. Are they too high? Are they communicated in a way that feels like pressure rather than support? If you notice your child striving excessively for high performance, have an open conversation about it. Ask them how they feel about your expectations and whether they feel undue pressure. By addressing this, you can help reduce the perception of conditional love and strengthen your bond.

Spend Quality Time With Them

Quality time is essential for showing your child that they are significant to you. This means engaging in activities that are free from distractions, allowing for genuine connection. Summer is an excellent time for this, as school is out and schedules are more flexible.

Plan one-on-one outings that cater to your child’s interests. Whether it’s hiking, visiting a museum, or simply grabbing a coffee together, these moments create lasting memories and reinforce their importance in your life. When your actions demonstrate that they are a priority, it helps to ease any existing tension and fosters a sense of belonging.

Show Appreciation

Expressing appreciation for your teen’s efforts and contributions, no matter how small, can significantly impact their sense of self-worth and the overall relationship. Recognize their attempts, even when things don’t go perfectly. For instance, if they bring you a coffee with the wrong type of milk, focus on their intention rather than the mistake.

This approach applies to chores and daily responsibilities as well. When they do something helpful, like putting away the cereal box without being asked, acknowledge it. Positive reinforcement encourages them to feel valued and understood, which can reduce resistance and build a stronger, more positive connection.

At WeThrive Learning, we understand the complexities of the parent-teen relationship. By controlling expectations, spending quality time together, and showing appreciation, you can alleviate tension and show your teen that they truly matter. These strategies not only help to restore your bond but also create a foundation for a healthy, loving relationship that can withstand the challenges of adolescence. Remember, the goal is to make your teen feel important through your actions and words, fostering a supportive environment where they can thrive.

If these strategies resonate with you and you feel you need support in implementing them, don't hesitate to book a free consultation call with us by visiting our website, We're here to help you build a stronger, more connected relationship with your teen.


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