Feb 6, 2022 1:38:51 PM | 10 Min Read

Ten Top Tips To Better Communicate With Your Teen

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Ten Top Tips To Better Communicate With Your Teen

Parenting teenagers is particularly difficult. It’s a significant time of transition for you and your child, as their bodies and minds develop, and your role as their parent shifts from guiding a child to supporting an adolescent. There’s no manual, and often our own experience as a teenager didn’t provide the mentorship for wisdom in this area of parenting. Add to that a lot of contradictory advice; it becomes extremely difficult to know how we can do better for our children, now they’ve hit the teenage years.

 

The Importance of Communication

Communication with your teenEven though your kids may be growing taller than you, or developed strong opinions that conflict with your own; you want them to know you still love and support them. It would be great if you could get some tips on how to do this while maintaining mutual respect and understanding. To journey through the teenage years with as little conflict and as much trust as possible. That despite all the changes, you come out the other side with a strong bond and a relationship that looks just as filled with affection as it has always been. It requires excellent communication, and we have some brilliant tips to get you there:

 

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

 

Be Present

Good communication isn’t just about the things you say, some of the most effective communications happen when you say nothing at all. Focus on being present around your teenagers. It will take some practice, but by really listening to whatever your teen has to say - you’ll show them you care about what's on their mind. What they choose to chat about may not seem important or interesting to you, but listen carefully anyway.

We know it’s not always easy, especially when your own mind is whizzing and you’re multitasking the items on your to-do list, but this seemingly insignificant action makes a world of difference. When your teen feels they can talk to you about the small things, they’re more likely to open up to you about the bigger issues.

Empathise

Try to put yourself in your child’s shoes and understand their point of view, without trying to fix everything. Sometimes kids just want to vent. When you minimise their concerns in an effort to make them feel better, they feel like they’re being dismissed and that you don’t understand. Instead, listen, empathise and validate their feelings with acknowledgement like, ‘That must be really upsetting’.   Your teen will come away from their conversation with you feeling like they’ve been heard. It’s likely they’ll be far more open to discussing their thoughts with you in the future.

Trust Them

Better communicate with your teenIt may feel counterintuitive at times, but demonstrate to your teens that you trust them. When you volunteer a privilege, or put them in charge of something important, it sends the message to your growing kids that you trust them to do what's right, and that you believe they’re capable of being responsible.

You’ll boost their confidence and they’ll appreciate your faith in them; together it'll ensure you build a strong open dialogue. Instead of hiding things from you, they’ll feel able to broach new subjects and trust that you’ll be reasonable about new parameters they want to explore.

Be A Role Model

We all know how ill-tempered teens can get, but no matter how much their behaviour triggers you, be the adult. Lead by example and take time to calm down when your frustration starts to bubble. It’s easy to let your anger flare up and your cross words escape your mouth, before you’ve realised what you’re saying.

Practice being aware of your own emotions, acknowledge them, and model how to deal with them. You can’t expect your teen to respond maturely if your own behaviour is at the mercy of whatever emotion dominates the moment. Instead of heated arguments, take time out and come back together when you feel able to discuss each other's perspective - without emotions taking over.

Have Fun

Have fun with your teenagerDon’t forget to have fun together! Take it in turns to do something the other enjoys, put yourself out there to try new experiences - make the effort to clear time in your schedule to dedicate to your teen.

Leave any conflict or personal matters behind and laugh together. Simply enjoy one another's company and you’ll go a great way to ensure you remain an important person in each other's eyes.

Catch Up Regularly

It’s the regular everyday activities that allow moments to share what’s happening in your lives. As your teen grows more independent, and you become less aware of all the things that happen in their day, it’s a great routine to get into.

Make sure you meet together regularly at meal times to catch up with ease; as a family you can all check in with each other, ask for support, and understand what’s happening from one day to the next.

Pay Attention

By spending quality time with your teen, and being present in your interactions, you put yourself in the best place to realise when things seem out of character.

Your teen will not always feel able to share what’s on their mind, but by taking care to observe and understand them, you’ll notice when they seem out of sorts. You can offer them your listening ear or perhaps, just your company. They’ll know you’re there for them if and when they’re ready.

Words That Count

Give Praise

Your teen probably acts like they don’t care what you think or say, but they do. Your big kid still needs your appreciation and acknowledgement. Continue to praise them like you did when they were small children, accomplishing things for the first time.

Navigating the world as a teenager is incredibly difficult; any positive encouragement or affirmation you give will go a long way to build a strong bond between you. Positive interactions between you will also really help to buffer any antagonistic conversations that occur as you travel through this new chapter in your relationship.

Explain Yourself

You can’t expect your teen to appreciate your perspective at the best of times, but if you tend to dictate to your adolescent rather than talk to them on a level, they will switch off completely. Try to collaborate with your teen, even when you want to get your point across or enforce a boundary.

Explain your reasons in a calm and measured way, and ask your teen for their input on what they think would be a fair limit too. Work together to find safe structures that allow both your needs to be met where possible. This will encourage your child to feel like you're on the same team, rather than an enemy.

Say Sorry

There will be many times that you’ll need to say sorry. It can be very difficult as a parent to admit mistakes, but when you apologise to your child - no matter their age, you model how to put right a wrong and build mutual respect.

Your teen will put up walls if you fail to put aside your ego and admit where you’ve gone wrong. If instead you apologise without excuse, you’ll show them you really care about them. If you can be prepared to expose your humanity behind your role as their parent, you’ll likely cement a closer relationship and better communication.

Great Communication Starts With You

No matter the age of your child, you remain one of the most important people in their lives. As your young child grows into their teenage years, they will need your love, encouragement and the security of your relationship more than ever. It’s a tumultuous time for them as they navigate friendships, accept their personal development and encounter the ups and downs of hormones.

You are their safe place to break against. Provide them with a trusting space to share who they are. With great communication, together you can continue to build a relationship that’s built on honesty, openness, safety and respect.

Want to learn more about how we help parents connect with their teens? Join our Facebook group and get lots of practical tips and insights from our instructors and other parents.

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Topics: Parenting, Communication, Teens

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