Most of us with teenage children have gone through difficult, and sometimes pointless discussions regarding their behavior. Also, it might be hard for some of us to reach out to our kids when they are going through a difficult moment in their lives. However, being able to create and develop an open communication channel is an essential part of parenting. Which is why we are bringing four simple and useful tips that will help you make communicating with your teen more effectively.
The very first step of creating an atmosphere of effective communication with our teens is to be understanding. This might sound cliché, or like something you might have heard a thousand times before. However, comprehension and understanding of your teen are key. It might be difficult at first, but we must remember that we live a different reality from them and keeping this in mind when talking to them about school or any other issue will help us approach them in a more inviting way. Putting ourselves in the shoes of our kids will also help us get their perspective and understand better what they are going through.
Another important part of effective communication is trying to get rid of our own emotions when we are talking with our teens. This means that we shouldn’t take what they say or do personally and remember that they are just being themselves. This sounds easier said than done, and that is true. This is not an easy skill to acquire, but a valuable one. For example, when our teen has made a poor choice, instead of being mad at them, we should think that they haven’t developed the skills to make smarter choices yet. Our role as parents is to guide our children and helping them make smart decisions. Leaving our emotions out of the conversation will help us carry out this role more easily.
Lastly, we should think about the kind of questions we may be asking and how effective or ineffective they are. It is common to ask questions that put a lot of pressure on our kids, which end up shutting them down and killing the conversation. Actually, there are many questions that instead of leading to a fruitful discussion, lead to conflict, and that’s what we want to avoid. Therefore, we should ask questions that elicit reflection and require our teens to think about their behavior, which will also lead the conversation to a problem-solving focus instead of a harsh interrogation by the figure of authority.