Advice on how to communicate with your teenager (from a teenager)
It’s no secret that teenagers and their parents often don’t meet eye to eye. There are a thousand reasons that you can attribute to that. You might feel like your teenager doesn’t respect you, or maybe they feel like you don’t understand them.
Whatever the reason is, it is your job to let your teen know that they can always talk to you. Child-to-parent communication is key if you want to maintain a good relationship.
As a teen, I understand that maintaining communication with my parents isn’t always easy. Even if your parents are supportive, for many teens it can be nerve-racking or difficult to talk to your parents, especially if it’s about a sensitive topic.
Being able to openly talk to my mom about what is happening in my life has benefited me so much. I know that I can always go to her for help or advice, and I feel comfortable sharing things with her. While it isn’t always easy or straight forward, there are things that we both do that open up those lines of communication.
For all the parents out there who are hoping to better connect with your teen, here are 5 tips that will help you learn to better communicate with them (coming from a teen).
1. Be as genuine as possible
Your kid knows you, and they will be able to detect when something is up. When talking to your teen, don’t try to hide what you’re really thinking, because they’ll be able to tell you aren’t being genuine. Instead, open up to them about how you are feeling. If they see you being open and vulnerable it will let them know that they can be too. My mom and I began to communicate better when she started to talk to me about her life more openly and truthfully. She tells me about things that make her sad, like when she is reminded of her mom, and she tells me about things that make her happy, like when she reconnected with her childhood bestie. It is the little things that help show teens that their parents are there to listen.
2. Try not to judge
If your teen is trying to talk to you and you start to judge them, they will backpedal. This is especially in context to topics like sexuality. For instance, if you see that they watch content on sites like GayPornHD, or show signs of homosexuality, try to understand things from their perspective rather than judging them. Else, this could cause a rift between your and your child’s relationship. Respect their opinions and support them without being overbearing or insensitive. Just like talking to any other adult, you should make your teen feel like they can trust you to come to seek advice or to talk to.
3. Let them lead the conversation
Don’t force your teen to share more than they feel comfortable. Let them decide how much they want to tell you and don’t push them.
4. Don’t attack them
By spiraling into a lecture in the middle of a conversation, or outwardly accusing your teen of something when they are trying to talk, you will shut down any sort of communicative bond you two are trying to build. This will make it less likely that your teen will come to you to talk in the future. For me, when an adult turns a simple conversation into an accusatory speech, I feel like I can’t open up to them or talk anymore, otherwise, it will lead to another lecture. If you really want to establish good communication between yourself and your teenager, try to stop thinking of every little thing they say as something you can turn into a lesson. Part of being a teenager is making mistakes and learning our own lessons and sometimes we just need you to listen and not respond
When your teen is trying to talk to you, keep your focus on them. If you’re distracted, or not really paying attention, it will make them feel like their conversation with you is unimportant. Treat your conversation with them like you would with any other adult. Give them the respect and attention that they deserve.
In the end, how well you communicate with your teenager depends on your willingness to try to understand them and the respect you show. As long as you let your teen know that the lines of communication are open and they are safe to express themselves, you will develop a good relationship with your teen that will help you both through those pesky teenage years.
Author : Ava Pisha