The teenage years usually tend to be very difficult for many families. Young people develop ideas, values, and beliefs different from those of their parents. But what parents usually don’t realize is that it’s a normal process of moving toward independence. Parents struggle with how much independence to allow their children at different ages and circumstances. It’s worth understanding that every young person is an individual and needs different advice. In this regard, parent teen communication is different from communicating with younger children, and there are chances of conflict and stress.
Following some simple tips, improve communication with your teenager. Also, at times, it’s good to seek professional advice if you are concerned about your family relationships.
Communication Tips With Teenagers
1. Be An Active Listener
Active listening is vital when you’re interacting with a teenager. An active listener refers to one who is engaged, caring, non-judgmental, and empathetic while listening. They stay the same even when they don’t agree with others’ views. Some teen’s beliefs or opinions may differ from your own, but there’s a need to respect and value their views.
This is necessary because the teenage child will respect your views and opinions, too. Listening actively means that you are making the child feel heard, understood, less alone, and calmer. Not listening properly makes the teenager vulnerable at the feeling as though parents are brushing off their concerns and invalidating their feelings, leaving them feeling frustrated, defensive, alone, or hurt.
If you are curious about what’s going on in your teen’s life, asking direct questions won’t be effective. Even an offhand comment about something that happened to you is a way of reaching out. Show that you are open and interested — but not prying.
2. Attentive Body Language
Parents should understand the importance of giving affirming nods, maintaining eye contact, giving a look of concern, or encouraging smiles. These acts serve as small gestures that let their teenage child know that the parents are paying attention. Use natural body language to make your child feel that you are present, interested, and really care. You should continue doing these even when you’re not using words.
3. Ask Open-ended, Clarifying Questions
Parents should take into consideration the value of a deeper understanding of how a child feels. One shouldn’t expect a right or wrong answer. Rather, there’s a need to gain insights into what your teen thinks. Try questions: “Is it okay for you to explain what you mean by…” or “How would you would have felt if I did the same to you?” Make sure that the questions that you are asking him or her show empathy.
4. Positive Feedback And Affirmation
Giving specific immediate praise helps build adolescents’ confidence and self-esteem. At the same time, if you are raising a teenager, it’s mandatory to encourage them to continue those same behaviors. Be there for the child if he or she shares that he or she has been feeling very stressed.
5. Validate What The Teen Has To Express
This is one of the best ways you can help the teenager accept his or her emotions and feel safe to express. You must reassure the teenager that you are glad he or she could share the matter with you with you. It’s worth noting that sometimes it may not be easy for teens to talk about what is worrying them. Also, at that point, you may not know what to say.
Explain to your child that you are there, ready to talk and listen. But do not force the conversation in case the teen isn’t in the right state of mind to describe what is going on. Usually, parents choose to solve problems for their kids or downplay their disappointments. So what should be done instead is showing kids that you understand and empathize by reflecting their sentiments back.
6. Share Funny Things
Note that when you are letting the teenager open up to you, parent teen communication is not only about sharing tough feelings. Share funny things and keep the conversation going. In addition, you can include talks about what went well during the day. Ensure that you are putting effort into finding opportunities to laugh together. Also, be affectionate in ways that are comfortable for your teen. Laughing hard lets both the parents and the teens feel good and strengthen your relationship!
7. Show Trust
Teens feel happy when they are taken seriously, especially by their parents. Show that you trust your teen. Asking them for a favor will be helpful in this case as it shows that you rely on them. Letting your kid know that you hold faith in them boosts their confidence.
8. Stop Being A Dictator
Parents do want the privilege to set the rules, but explain them. Pushing the boundaries is natural for teenagers. But there can be a ray of hope in the manner that hearing your thoughtful explanation will make the rule seem more reasonable.
9. Praise The Child When They Deserve It
Parents praise children more when they are younger, but what they often parents forget to maintain is praising adolescents. They do need the self-esteem boost just as much. It’s understandable that the teenager may pretend to be too cool to care about what their parents think, but they still want your approval. Look for opportunities to be positive and encouraging, especially when they are feeling strained.
10. Control Emotions
Temper does flare when your teen is being rude, but you should understand that, being younger, they are less able to control their emotions or think logically. Take some deep breaths before responding to them. If you’re both too upset with each other, be prepared to pause until you’ve had a chance to calm down.
11. Spend Time Together And Share Chores
Note that Talking isn’t the only way to communicate. Spend time doing things you both enjoy, regardless of what the activity is cooking or going to the movies. Show the teen that they can be in proximity to you and share positive experiences. It’s not always necessary to pop intrusive questions.
12. Share Meals
Sitting down to eat a meal together is a way to stay close. Dinner conversations are vital, and every member gets a chance to talk casually. That said, even a teenage child will feel comfortable talking to parents about everyday things.
13. Be Observant
Kids go through some changes as they mature, but you must observe changes in their behavior, energy level, mood, or appetite. If you notice them isolating, be mindful of that as well. In case you notice changes in the teen’s daily ability to function, ask them about it. Regardless of where it goes, be supportive.
Everything in life requires effort and commitment, and the same is true when raising a teenage child. So be ready to show the effort and commitment on your part to communicate effectively with your teens.