If you have a teenager, you already know it can be tricky to communicate with them. Their vague responses, prolonged silences, and sometimes rebellious reactions can be a little overwhelming for any parent. These behaviors are not just challenging but can also affect your communication with your kid.
What complicates things further is how this is the age when teens are making some major life decisions. This is when it’s most important to have open communication to know what your child is up to.
Let’s look at some of the best tips to have effective communication with teens.
Be a Better Listener
If you want to have better communication with your teen, you need to sharpen those listening skills.
Teens don’t like it when their parents probe into their personal life and ask too many direct questions, no matter how curious they might be. Kids are likelier to open up to their caregivers and parents if they don’t feel the pressure to share information. Make sure you’re always there to listen whenever your teen is upset or venting about something and don’t throw in any offhand comments. Here is how you can listen more effectively:
- Focus on their words and not your response
- Give them all your attention
- Avoid finishing their sentences or interrupting
- Ask them to clarify if you’re not sure you understand something they’ve said
Cut Them Some Slack
Remember that if you want to encourage your child to be more communicative, they need to feel like they’re supported no matter what.
If your teen is acting out or being difficult to communicate with, they could be going through something at school or in their personal life.
Try not to add too much stress to their life. Instead help them with their homework or ask them how you can help make their tasks more manageable. Give them a break from household chores if they don’t feel like it, and help them find ways to let out their frustration.
Show Trust and Validate How They Feel
Never be dismissive about your kid’s struggles or problems. Every parent tends to downplay their kid’s disappointments, but this can make them lose their trust in you.
Show your child that you understand their problems and try to empathize. Show them you trust them and reflect their sentiments when they’re talking to you.
Want more tips to help your teen achieve their life goals and have better emotional and mental health? Reach out to the leading teen mentor, Jesse LeBeau.
Jesse offers a range of comprehensive mental health programs for teens and customized strategies for confidence coaching and helps teenagers become more assertive and confident.