Judy Ann Santos Agoncillo's eldest child, Yohan, is turning 15 in November 2019. On the morning talk show Magandang Buhay, when asked about her daughter having crushes and going to her high school prom, the mom of three joked, "Babagyo sa araw ng prom!"
Kidding aside, Judy Ann explained that it's inevitable because everybody goes through that stage. "At the same time, mas kailangan lang na mas open lang kayo sa relationship, especially with your teenagers," she stressed, adding that kids today, even younger ones, are more sensitive. Being open about what they think or feel is vital in understanding them.
Times are very different from when Judy Ann was a teenager, but parenting teens remains tricky. While parents may have trouble understanding their teens' moods, the kids themselves also have a lot of questions that could heighten their emotions or cloud their judgment. It's hard, and sometimes awkward, for teens to open up to their parents, thanks to puberty or perhaps because of their exposure to social media, too.
Just like in any relationship, Judy Ann acknowledged that fostering openness with children, especially those going through adolescence, entails a lot of work.
"Hahanapin mo rin yung tamang posisyon, when to talk to [your kids] or are they comfortable talking about [their problems]," the actress said it. "Kahit naman tayo di ba, 'pag pinipilit ka magsalita [tungkol sa] problema mo, parang mas lalu kang umaayaw... Maaaring hindi pa sila ready," Judy Ann explained.
And it doesn't happen overnight, so it's crucial to establish the open lines of communication while they're young. Here's what Judy Ann does—they're simple but effective when done consistently:
She creates a safe space for her kids.
Judy Ann always tells her kids, especially Yohan, that she's there to listen to her anytime. "Ang first line ko parati sa kanya is: 'Mommy is here to listen, and I will not judge you.' Palagi naming sinasabi sa kanya, 'Only when you're ready to talk about it, then just let me know,'" the mom of three shares. Yohan's language of love is writing letters and drawing, so Judy Ann encourages this as well.
She makes her kids feel loved through little things.
As busy as Judy Ann's schedule is, the mom of three always makes it a point to make her kids feel loved and important. "Yung maramdaman nila na pag-uwi mo, may effort ka to let them know that you were thinking about them the whole day. It changes a lot. Malaking bagay sa kanila yun," she explained.
When she gets home from work, she gives all her children a kiss goodnight. If she wasn't able to join them for breakfast, she writes notes on Post-its for them. "Little things like that means a lot to these kids," Judy Ann said.
Watch the video clip where she talks about it below:
For more ways to encourage your tween or teen to talk to you, click here.