As a parent, it’s sometimes difficult to let go as your child grows. This is only natural as we want to stay connected to our young ones. As your son or daughter grows, they will naturally become more independent and it’s up to us as parents to realize this and start letting go to encourage them to become successful adults. One challenging task for parents, as children grow, is talking with your teens. From discussing driving safety tips to discussing curfew and grades, talking with your teen can be challenging. The following are for all of us having a tough time communicating with our teens:
- Avoid the lecture. It’s natural for parents to go into long lectures when trying to talk or discipline our teens. The simple solution is to avoid the long lecture. Consider what needs to be said and get to the root of the issue. The longer the discourse, the less your child is listening.
- Listen. Your teenager will talk to you, but not always when you want or expect. Be open and listen when they are ready to talk. Stay quiet but ask questions to bring more understanding. If your child tells you something shocking, calmly investigate further and listen. Losing your cool will cause the conversation to shut down.
- Take the direct approach. The subject matter might not be what you were hoping for but using the direct approach when talking with your teen is the best approach. Don’t put off the conversation or shy away because you might not know what to say, be direct, admit if you don’t know how to answer and be honest in your reply. Being respectfully direct will help foster trust between you and your teen.
- When things don’t work out. Teens and parents will overreact and start arguing on occasion. This is natural. Be the first to apologize and reach out to repair the damage. This doesn’t mean you are weak and you aren’t changing your rules, but you are trying to show you are human and you want to forge a stronger bond with your son or daughter.
Talking with your teen is a process that will take time and patience. When you, as the parent, put in the effort you will see the positive change in you and your child’s conversations.