As teens grow up and gain a sense of identity and self-awareness, they often fear being judged by the people around them. As a result, many young people become withdrawn and introverted in their teenage years as they try to figure this stuff out. They may not know how to express themselves, and become fearful as a result, and they then communicate that fear to the people around them. As a parent, you can take the first step and help your teen to feel validated and heard in your conversations.
We asked eight parents and teens to watch a classic scene from the movie Lady Bird where a parent and a teen both feel judged by the other, which results in a confrontation. We asked them to tell us what they thought went wrong and what the characters could have done better.
Here are some things we learnt
- If you’re worried about something your teen has said, but you’ve noticed that they’re afraid you’ll judge them, you might need to think about the most constructive way to share your concerns with them.
- If your teen has shared something with you that makes them feel vulnerable, and your reaction is to be critical of what they have told you, it might be best to save that feedback for a separate discussion, so that your teen feels heard during the initial conversation. Often, if you’ve had time to process your feelings, you’ll be able to communicate your response in a more constructive way. Hopefully, if your teen feels validated by the way you handle this conversation, they’ll be motivated to share more with you in the future.