As your children get older and enter their teenage years, it is natural and common that you might recognize that they begin to develop a different value set from your own. This is a terrifying moment for many parents. After all, if they aren’t getting these values from you, then where are they getting them from? Feeling like your teen is losing their way in the world is something that many parents feel, at some point in their journey to raise their child. However, there are a few important factors to remember about this time. Here are some thoughts you should work through when talking to your teenager about their values and your own…

Judgement isn’t a powerful communication tool

First of all, remember that there is a right and a wrong way to talk to your children about values that they don’t share with you, and things that you do will either invite more conversations or shut down all communication. Judgement is definitely the latter. When a teenager feels like you are judging them for their beliefs and choices that they have come to, then it reinforces their belief that you can’t or won’t understand them.

Remember, they probably feel just as powerful about their values as you do about your own. Be respectful during these discussions, and you will find that they will be more constructive and go a lot further.

Recognize what is and isn’t important about your own values

Before talking to your teen, sit down and ask yourself what is and isn’t important to you about your own values. As a parent, it can be difficult to recognize that times change, and so do the viewpoints that people have. Some people react to this simple fact by trying to cling onto ideals that really are only important because they are what they have known. This isn’t productive, though.

Make a list of your values, and divide them between ones that you feel like are more a creation of traditional experience, and which ones are values that should be universal, such as respect, hard work, and empathy.