How to Communicate With Your Teenager
The teenage years are not easy for your child. As well as increased school work, they are dealing with hormones, developing deeper relationships, peer pressure and sexual feelings. They are also trying to work out their own identity and developing their own opinions and views.
Many parents worry about how they will cope with their child when they become a teenager and if they still will be able to have a good relationship with them. Learning to listen and talk to your teenager will certainly make a difference to your relationship. It is important to find out how much involvement they want from you but by staying involved in their lives at some level you can help guide and advise them if and when they need you.
Teenagers Need to Talk Too
Teenagers still need someone to talk to about their problems and issues and that person may be you. If you keep the lines of communication open between you and your teenager they will come to you. There may be times when they just want you to listen, not react or give advice. Let them have their say without interruption or judgement. They just want someone to hear their experience. If you are unsure what your teen wants from you, just ask. Show interest in their issues and be supportive of their feelings.
Timing is Everything
When you want to talk and discuss with them things find out when they are free to talk – even give them an option, ‘Do you want to talk when you have… or after….’ Always try to talk in a calm and reasonable way, even if you don’t feel like it. If you start by shouting, your teenager is more likely to respond in the same way. You may even find it easier to talk outside of the house – in a café or doing an activity you both enjoy. This will give you great one-to-one bonding time.
If your teenager finds what you have to say uninteresting or they don’t think you can help them, don’t be offended. It’s normal for them to be more interested in their friend’s lives and what their friends say rather than you and yours. They are not rejecting you but trying to sort things out for themselves. For them growing up involves showing to the world how different they are from their peers and the adults around them. They need to find ways of expressing this difference and so they may well disagree with everything you say.
Keep it Up
Don’t forget your teenager still needs you and, underneath it all, cares about you. If you understand and accept that you won’t always see eye to eye with them all the time you won’t get upset when they just do their own thing. Hang on in there!