We often forget that teens have emotional needs that deeply influence their actions, as well. So often teens’ actions are dismissed as simply “adolescent behavior” or… wait for it… puberty! However, understanding your teen’s connection language can also help you to identify when an emotional need is unmet and to respond, connect, and empower them consciously.
Let's dive into 5 triggering ways your teen may be attempting to connect to you in their connection language and...what to do:
Feeling Seen - Does your teen crave to feel seen? This could look like doing something radical with their hair or doing things that you may feel they are simply " doing for attention.” Connect to them by actually giving them your attention, rather than appearing annoyed or making judgmental comments. Compliment their appearance. Take notice and let them know you care. It matters.
Feeling Heard - Does your teen crave to feel heard? This may look like yelling, blasting music, or speaking extra loudly on the phone. In fact, oftentimes we oops by mistaking a need to feel heard as confidence. Connect to them by sliding a written note under their bedroom door that gives them permission to have judgment-free connection time with you whenever they choose.
Feeling Adored - Does your teen crave to feel adored? This could look like them seemingly not trying new things or hiding in the shadows of their siblings (or even you!). Connect to them by having one-on-one time with them. Give them an opportunity to reintroduce themselves to you, rather than assuming you know everything about them. (I get it, you're their parent. But, try giving them the opportunity to grow and shift.) Praise what makes them unique or different, and tell them stories about your own struggles.
Feeling Valued - Does your teen crave to feel valued? This could look like them giving others the silent treatment because they feel invisible. Oftentimes, when we feel invisible, we tend to shrink ourselves even more because we believe that’s what others “want.” Connect to them by offering to include them in something you’re learning or doing. Consider asking them to teach you one of their special skills or talents.
Feeling Supported - Does your teen crave to feel supported? This could look like them saying “No one cares about me” or that they feel all alone. Connect to them by really listening to their needs (even if you’ve heard them before) and offering ways you can or will support them later (although immediate support is much more powerful).
Let's make a pact this week, to lean in rather than dismiss and relearn one another's languages.