Need Help Communicating With Your Teen?
It’s the stage of life when teenagers assert their independence; however, your relationship is more important than ever and good communication now is key:
Easier said than done — especially when you want to know what’s happening in your teen’s life. However, kids are more likely to be “open with their parents if they don’t feel pressured to share information,” explains Rachel Ehmke at Child Mind Institute. Therefore, it can be more effective to sit back and listen. “Remember even an offhand comment about something that happened during the day is her way of reaching out, and you’re likely to hear more if you stay open and interested — but not prying.”
It’s common for parents to offer younger children praise, but we tend to back off when it comes to teenagers, especially when they act like they don’t care about such things. However, our teens, in fact, need that self-esteem boost and it’s important for us to look for opportunities to provide encouragement.
Tame your temper
It can be typical for teenagers to be rude and not uncommon to fly off the handle when hormones flare. And it’s easy for parents to respond in kind. However, as the parent, it’s important to take the high road and control our emotions and respond in a logical manner. A daily mindfulness practice can help with this, as can taking a time-out for some deep breaths before responding.
Trust your teen
As our kids grow older, they want to be taken seriously by us, so it’s important to their self-worth that we show we have faith in them. You may need to look for ways to demonstrate this. Ask for a favor that will show you trust him or extend some freedom that will set him up for success.
Share positive experiences
Look for ways to do things together, instead of just trying to communicate by talking. Ehmke suggests spending time doing things you both enjoy, whether it’s watching a movie, cooking or throwing around a football outside. “It’s important for kids to know that they can be in proximity to you, and share positive experiences, without having to worry that you will pop intrusive questions or call them on the carpet for something.”