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Communicating with Your Teen

by Jennifer S. Rowe | November 21st, 2014 | Communication, Teens

teen girl (400x400)The two words teens and communication for the most part, do not necessarily go together very well, and that is a shame, because it doesn’t always have to be that way. I want to make clear that I am not under the illusion that things are always going to be “hunky dory” when it comes to parenting a teen, but along the way I have learned a thing or two about communicating with my teenage son. Some lessons need to be learned the hard way, and I don’t mean my son, I mean me!

One of the most important things that I had to rethink when it came to communicating with my teen, was having a conversation, not giving a lecture. I think as an adult, I probably have reacted the same way my son did when someone else tried lecturing me as opposed to conversing with me. The walls go up and so do defenses. The important point here is, a conversation involves two people, unlike a lecture! Listing and letting your teen know that you are willing to hear their point of view can open up so many teachable moments that will lead to problem solving as well as conflict resolution. You should also keep things short, simple and to the point. Don’t confuse issues with so many details that your teen has no idea what you are talking about, since disseminating all that information can be overwhelming for them.

I would also urge you to not try and be your teen’s friend, because you’re not. You’re an adult, so act like an adult. Keeping your own emotions under control is vital to a good constructive conversation with your teen. If they see you starting to lose control of yourself, they will mirror what you are doing and effective communication ends. Some days will be easier than others depending on whether or not your teen feels like opening up to you, and that can depend on any number of factors that have taken place during that day that we have no idea about. Stay calm, cool and collected, ask questions that require more than a yes or no answer and keep it simple.

These are just some of the tools that you can use to increase effective communication with your teen son or daughter, and please remember, this is not a one size fits all kind of issue. You will have to find out what works for you and your family since everyone is so different. Peer support is also key so that you don’t feel like you are the only one in the world going through this, and believe me, you are not alone. Hang in there, this too shall pass, and both you and your teenager will survive.

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