1) Talk to your parents
What? You mean actually sit down and have a conversation with them? What would we talk about? Try to talk about everyday topics or observations you have (look how cute the dog is today!) The more you talk to your parents the easier it becomes. If you want/need to talk about a difficult topic, think through what you want to say and what you want to actually communicate to your parents with the conversation (do you want their support/advice or do you want/need their permission for something?) This will change the way you present the information or ask the questions you want to ask to get the results you desire. Make sure you pick the right time for these discussions and talk about how you actually feel.
2) Try to understand that your parents might be having a difficult time with you becoming your own person
Not that they don’t want that for you.. just realize it might be hard for them to be okay with letting you make your own decisions (and your own mistakes!) They have to still adjust, just as you do, to the idea that you are becoming your own person and separating from them. This is the normal progression from childhood to adulthood that often leads to conflict for teens and their parents.
3) Don’t be so hard on yourself.
We are all our own worst enemies and beat ourselves up the most. Try to put down the bat and be a bit gentler with yourself. Realize you are human and are learning how to have your own opinion and make your own decisions, because of which you are bound to make some mistakes along the way. Know that this is okay, that you will then learn from these mistakes and be stronger and more confident afterwards.
4) Foster relationships with your grandparents and other older relatives.
Having a close relationship with your grandparents can truly be such a rewarding experience for both you and them. They can offer you a wealth of information about your parents when they were your age as well as tons of love, support and comfort that only a grandparent can give.
5) Get to know yourself.
What types of movies do you like? Do you have a hobby? What are you passionate about? These are some questions to ask yourself. If you find yourself unsure because you always seem to be doing what your friends are doing and don’t really have your own “identity” and “sense of self,” it is time to make a change. Spend a day alone, without the constant chatter online with friends. Read a book, take a walk, play a game with your little brother. Clean out your closet and look through baby books.. Learn more about you so that you can learn to accept and love yourself for who you are and not for who your friends are or who you think others want you to be.
6) Ask for help.
Many teens feel helpless at times which can get you angry or frustrated. It is important for you to know that it is okay to ask for help and it is not a sign of weakness. I frequently tell the teens I see for therapy that coming to my office every week and talking about their feelings is a very brave thing to do. The results speak for themselves when you start feeling better about yourself and accepting yourself for who you are and who you want to be.
7) Hit the “Pause” button.
I gave this tip for parents too. It is a good idea to edit your emails, tweets or texts before hitting the send button. This also applies to insults or verbal outbursts directed at your parents, siblings or friends since the words, written or spoken, cannot be shoved back in your mouth after they come out. It is a lot easier to edit before than to backtrack and regret after the fact. Say to yourself, “Do I have to say this? And if so, can I wait a bit before sending/saying it?”
8) Never say a bad word about anyone.
If you have a negative opinion about a classmate it is better to keep it to yourself than to blab about it in a group chat. You never know where those words will go and who will see/hear them. If you have conflicts with your peers, which most teens do, it is better and safer to say nothing and give a polite smile and wave before walking away than to have a nasty exchange. You never know, the person you were bad mouthing might turn back into your bestie by tomorrow.
9) Love yourself.
I’m sure you’ve heard to phrase, “You have to first love yourself before anyone else can love you.” This of course does not pertain to your parents since they love you unconditionally. That being said, people who do not love themselves give that off in an aura and show others how they should then feel about them. If you love yourself and are a positive person, it shows. Once you can learn to love yourself and accept those parts of you that you don’t love, you will see how others will flock to you and enjoy being around you.