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Communication with Teenagers: Tips for Parents

It has been said that being the parent of a teenager is similar to that of being a parent of a child from Mars. They look different than you, act differently from you, and speak another language. Yet the parent’s job in raising teenagers should not be neglected, but what’s a parent to do when their own teenaged child seems to be completely “alien” to them?

Communicating with teenagers doesn’t have to be that way. Remember when you were a teenager? It really isn’t too different today. The less your son or daughter tells you about their life, the more independence they feel that they have. They begin to create a new identity. It is part of the natural process of growing up.

Unfortunately, sometimes our teenage youth make poor decisions. They need your help, parents, even if they don’t ask for it. Many of the questions about life that we faced when we were young still exist in today’s youth. What am I going to do when I grow up?  Am I cool enough to be liked? How do I fit in? Am I wearing the right clothes? Why don’t my parents understand me? Does he/she really like me?

The good news about dealing with teenagers: You can help your teenage son or daughter navigate this challenging time in their life. First, it is important to make time to spend with your son or daughter every day. Whether it is doing homework, eating dinner as a family, or talking about school, making time for your child will provide a foundation of trust. Second, focus on the positives more than the negatives. Think 80% positive and 20% correction. Finally, build open lines of communication. Remember, the most important thing that your son or daughter wants is to be heard and understood by you.

Will they tell you everything that is going on in their life? No, not at first. Over time, however, you will see that your teen will trust you and confide in you.

By Jason Davis, MS, 

Jason has over 15 years of experience working with adolescents, and is passionate about helping them with problems such as bullying, depression, anxiety, anger, as well as improving interpersonal communication skills. 

 

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