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5 Communication Blunders Tweens Should Avoid

by Lori Sciame | December 3rd, 2015 | Communication, Tweens

boy thinking (400x400)Humans are social creatures; however, we do not arrive in this world with pre-programmed communication skills. On the contrary, learning to communicate effectively happens after lots of practice. For example, terms such as verbal and non-verbal communication need to be defined, then effective examples of each must be mastered.  In essence, tweens need help with figuring out how to understand other people, as well as how to be understood.  Parents and guardians can assist tweens with developing good communication skills.  A great place to start is by alerting a child about communication blunders to avoid.

You Know?

Typically children of this age will add unnecessary words to his or her speech.  For example, we all know someone who punctuates each thought with a “you know?” or a “right?” or even an “ummmm.”  Nip this bad habit as soon as it begins; it is much easier for a child to delete unnecessary words than to try to correct the problem later in adulthood.

Lessons learned:  Unneeded words impede meaning, AND they can be frustrating for the listener.


Children tend to avoid conflict. Sometimes this aversion to confrontation can lead to a tween saying yes when he or she means no. Teach a tween it is OK to say no.  In fact, tell him that he cannot tackle life without being able to assert his boundaries.  This skill takes practice for some children. They think that saying yes in person, then texting no later will suffice; however, doing so will only derail effective communication.

Lesson learned:  No means no.

What Did You Say?

Your daughter looks at you intently as you speak, so she obviously understands your stance.  WRONG!  In many cases, tweens will act like they hear you, yet their minds drift aimlessly to other places.  Teach your tween that communication between two people can only happen when listening occurs.  Insist that your tween learns the valuable skill of active listening.  Stress to her she will be more likely to keep friends if she can prove she is a good listener.

Lesson learned: Be present and listen to the speaker.

Crossed Arms = Closed Heart

As adults we realize that body language plays a huge role in conveying meaning. For instance, your husband states he wants to go to the play, yet his drooping head and crossed arms indicate something very different.  Help your tween understand the huge role body language plays in communication. Being aware of what your body says as much as your words will help one to be a better person.

Lesson learned:  Actions sometimes speak louder than words.

I Can’t Hear You

Another blunder concerns volume.  Tweens must learn to speak up to be heard. When I was a child, I spoke so softly that much of my wants and needs ended up unmet.  If I had known that by merely speaking more loudly that I would be understood much better, I would have increased my volume. Instruct your tween to speak confidently – no whispering.

Lesson learned: Speak up to be heard.

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