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» How to Talk to Your Teen

How Did I Do It? > Parenting & Kids > How to Talk to Your Teen
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Talking to your teen isn’t the easiest thing in the world; sometimes it seems like you’re speaking two different languages.

You only want to keep them safe and happy, but they seem to think that you’re trying to make them miserable.

Is there any solution?

Parenting a teen will probably never be easy, but you can close the gulf with this simple parenting advice.

If you have trouble getting through to your teenager, read this article to learn how to better communicate with teens.
If you have trouble getting through to your teenager, read this article to learn how to better communicate with teens.

  • Spend time with your teen and actively listen to her in general. The closer your relationship is, the more likely she’ll be to pay attention and comply with your requests. Some parents expect to have a one-way conversation as they did when their children were younger. But the days of I-tell-you-and-you-do-it are long over. Your teen is now realizing that he can make his own decisions. Two-way communication can help you to influence those choices, but it will become increasingly difficult for you to control them outright.
  • As difficult as it may be, stay positive. Your teenager deserves respect too, and by actively listening and treating him as you want to be treated you’re modeling the kind of behavior that you want him to exhibit. If you feel yourself losing your temper, take a step back from the conversation and regroup.
  • Be as specific as possible about what you want and why you want it. With younger children, you can tell them to do things “because I said so,” but that just won’t fly with teens. Help them to understand why you’re putting your foot down and they should be more willing to comply. By if you make a logical request that is difficult to argue with, you’re more likely to succeed.
  • Be honest. A good relationship and effective communication are both based on trust. Lying to your teenager or trying to obscure the truth will more than likely hurt your chances of reaching a satisfactory solution.
  • Less is more. Make your point once and then stop. Your child is intelligent; give her credit and don’t patronize. You’ll find that she’s more likely to listen if you don’t read her the riot act.
  • Allow your teen the space and time to respond. Once you’ve explained your point of view, let him assimilate the information and explain his point of view. There may be some factors that you’re not aware of, or he may come up with an alternate solution that will make both of you happy. Never compromise on issues related to your child’s safety, but by all means, be prepared to give a little on things that are less important.
  • Don’t try to be a friend. Your teen has many friends, but they don’t have an unlimited supply of parents. By all means, be friendly with your kids, but realize that keeping them safe, happy, and healthy may sometimes require putting your foot down. Friends don’t do that, but parents of successful teens do.

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