Commentary by Jim White
Teenagers may never say it, but they like it when you write them notes.
One of the most effective ways to build connection and empower your teen is to hand write a note — although many people fail to see the importance of this in our digital age. This can be done as a way to heal your relationship after an argument or as a way to communicate how much you love and believe in them.
Here is what you do: After an unusually difficult week of fighting over everything from how clean their room is to not getting their homework done to not calling when they were going to be late getting home, you write something like this and set it on their bed:
I know this last week has been tough for us. I am sorry for yelling at you, but when I get frustrated it is hard for me to stop. I know that it never really helps, and going forward I am going to try to be more understanding.
More importantly, I want you to know that even though we disagree and fight sometimes I still love you. You are my son, and I will always love you no matter what.
Have a great day at school.
I love you,
Now, don’t expect your son or daughter to immediately acknowledge your note. In fact, they may never bring it up, but be assured that they read it. I know one young man who said that he kept all of the notes his parents had written him during high school. He shared that these notes helped him get through his freshman year at college. He loved reading them whenever he was feeling homesick or down about something.
How about a note of encouragement on the day of a big test?
How about a note of appreciation if they help a younger sibling with their homework?
You get the idea. Grab a pen and start writing.
Carmel resident Jim White is a family enrichment coach and the founder of The Successful Family, which provides coaching and educational content designed for parents with teenagers. He may be reached at email@example.com.