Guidelines for Talking With Your Teen
Ways to listen so your teen will talk and talk so your teen will listen.
An open line of communication is the biggest gift you can give your teenager. Communication that is honest and nonjudgmental is extremely important: You want your child to see you as a source of information and comfort.
7 Tips for Important Talks
Initiate conversations during a shared activity, such as making dinner, to make it feel less intimidating and more natural.
Listen with interest and respect when you talk to your teen, no matter what he is saying.
Use “I” instead of “you” when talking to your child, which keeps the conversation going with less pressure.
Praise your teen. It will boost her self-esteem, which is important because many teenagers have poor self images.
Listen to body language as well as words. A child who fidgets and avoids eye contact while saying “Nothing’s wrong” is clearly bothered by something.
Talk as equals. A teen doesn’t want to, and shouldn’t be, treated like a child. But make sure you are perfectly clear when you communicate with your teen. If you want her home by six, don’t say “be home for dinner.” This tactic will reduce the chance of rules being broken and frustration on everyone’s part.
Show love unconditionally. Teens often feel that they will lose their parents’ love if they do something wrong. Make sure your child knows that you are proud of the person she is not just for what she does.