When you are parenting teens, communicating with them can often times feel as though you are trying to traverse a mine field. One day your teen is fine and the next they act as though you are from another planet. While it can be difficult to talk to teens, as parents we know that it is imperative that we do so. The good news is that communicating with teens can be somewhat easier by following a few simple tips.
First, recognize the importance of talking with your teen everyday. Teens usually start spending increasing amounts of time out of the home, involved in school related activities and time with friends; therefore, it is increasingly important that you make a point to spend at least a few minutes every single day talking with your teen. Try to set aside a time at the same time every day when you can talk to them about their activities that day. Even if you have other duties to which you need to attend, make sure that your teenager knows that you are dedicating this time to him or her and listening attentively.
You can do this by not just hearing your teen but asking questions that will prompt answers that go beyond yes or no. This type of activity not only helps you to learn more about what is going on with your teen but also encourages them to develop more in-depth levels of conversation; which will server them well later in life.
If you find it difficult to find time to talk to your teen, look for times when you won’t be likely interrupted by other family members or the telephone, such as standing in line at the market, bank, etc. and car trips.
When talking to your teen, try to focus on what they are telling you. In order to do this you may need to get a handle on current teenage language; which is often quite different from adult expressions. By doing so, you may learn that you are able to understand more about what is going on with your teen than you ever thought possible.
While it can be incredibly tempting to interrupt your teen when they are talking to you, try to make a strong effort not to do this. Allow them to express their whole thought and wait until they are finished before you comment or ask a question.
Make a point not to overly criticize or even tease your teen when talking with them. While you may not think it’s that big of a deal, keep in mind that teens are quite sensitive and what might only be said in jest or passing to you could be quite detrimental to them.
Finally, take the opportunity to always let your child know that you love them and you’re proud of them. These are the first steps to helping your teen build a firm foundation for good self-esteem that will take them far into their future.