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Communicating with your Teen

Being a parent is probably the most fulfilling role a person will play in their life. However, it is also likely to be the most challenging role as well. Amidst all of its rewards, being a parent is exhausting, stressful, and taxing, especially when your child becomes a teenager. The teenage years represent the transitional period from childhood into young adulthood. Making this transition can be very difficult for teens as they struggle with fitting in with their peers, balancing responsibility and independence, and dealing with physical changes. As a parent to a teenager, it is important to keep in mind that your child is going through a challenging time. Establishing open lines of communication where your teenager feels comfortable talking with you about what is going on in their life is one of the most beneficial things that you can do. Of course, this is much easier said than done. If you are parent of a teenager who would like to learn how to communicate more effectively with your child, then you are going to want to read this article as it offers useful parenting communication tips.

Tip 1: To the best of your ability, try not to seem condescending or talk down to your teenager. They are growing up and becoming more adult-like so you want to honor that and treat them as such. If you treat them more like equals and show them that their opinions and points of view really matter, then they will be less likely to be resentful and avoid communicating with you.

Tip 2: Put yourself in your teenager’s shoes. When talking with your teenager, it is very helpful if you take a trip down memory lane and try to remember what it was like when you yourself were a teenager. Thinking about the negative emotions and feeling of self-doubt that you experienced will allow you to be more compassionate and gain a better understanding of what your teenager is going though.

Tip 3: Empathy, empathy, and more empathy. Coinciding with tip 2, showing empathy towards your teen will allow them to feel like their voice is being heard and that they are understood. Teenagers often feel lonely and like no one understands them, so if you can actively create an environment in which your teen feels unconditionally loved, then they will be much more open to communicating with you.

Tip 4: Opening up and talking about personal matters is never an easy thing to do and it takes courage at any age. Keep this in mind when having a discussion with your teen and reward them when they demonstrate this kind of bravery by listening emphatically and respectfully.

Tip 5: Never ignore your teenager’s feelings and emotions because they could be cries for help. You want to be in tune with your teen’s behavior so that if they are acting uncharacteristically sad or angry you can intervene early to discover what is bothering them. While they may not want to talk to you right away, merely reaching out to them and letting them know that you are there for them when they are ready to talk will do worlds of good, just be delicate in your approach as you don’t want to come across like you are interrogating them.

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2 Responses to “Communicating with your Teen”

  1. Serena Jones-McGregor says:

    I have a niece who just turned 18 and sometimes talking to her is easier said than done. She often calls me, her aunt, to complain about mom and dad. More often than not, because I’m not her parent, it’s easier for me to see things from her point of view. I think parents struggle with feeling like we have to MAKE our children make the right choices. We often forget that what’s right for us may not be right for our child.


  2. Nigel says:

    Very true – another thing that is difficult to grasp is that we were never their age in this era. So, when I was 18, the world was a totally different place. It can be discussed which parts are better and which are worse – but nevertheless it is totally different.


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