How would you like to have a closer relationship with your teen again? Your ability to communicate effectively with your teen is one of the most precious skills you can develop to achieve this goal. When we think of communication, we tend to think only of the way we can express ourselves. While that is certainly important, listening is the single most crucial of all communication skills. As a mother of two teenage boys, I know that it isn’t always easy to communicate well with your teen. It’s particularly frustrating when they aren’t talking to you. However, when I started applying these techniques to our lives, I found that we started getting along better almost immediately. With less arguing between us, our relationship became stronger. Give your teens your full attention. I know that this is a toughie, because we tend to be so busy. It seems as if we are always multi-tasking.
However, it is important in clear communicating that you make a point of stopping what you are doing and really listen to your teens (rather than just hearing him). When you give your teens your undivided attention, they will know that you care, because you took the time to listen, thereby increasing the chances that they will listen to you. Hear what your teen is really saying! Teens tend to give terse answers to questions, leaving out details that may be important. It’s up to you to be able to get them to open up and draw them into a conversation. And on and on the arguing goes . This teen was able to express herself, and she felt validated by her parent. You will notice that the parent didn’t argue about the feelings the teen had. The parent listened and was not judgmental. You don’t have to agree with your teens feelings.
You only need to acknowledge them. There is no such thing as a wrong feeling. We cant help what our teens may feel. We should set limits, however, on behaviors that dont conform to what we consider to be appropriate behavior. Expressing one’s feelings is a healthy thing; although negative expressions of ones feelings should be avoided, such as screaming or name calling. A good way to avoid this is using time-outs–wait and continue the conversation when everybody has calmed down. Questions can be crucial to communicating with your teens. Moving from the listening to the talking part of communication, your focus shifts. When you want to see a change in your teens behavior, using the following structure can be very helpful. This wording (known as I message) doesn’t attack your teens personality. Instead it merely talks about an action of theirs that you’d like to change and why.
Here is a scenario you might relate to: The chores were not done. Your teen went out instead. This example does not show the best way of communicating. It is a personal attack and makes statements you may not stick to anyway. When you didn’t do your chores before going out, I felt really mad. A fairly big problem that parents run into is looking for suitable punishment for broken rules. However, the penalty applied usually isn’t related to the teens action. As parents, we need to show our teens that each choice they make has consequences, but the discipline needs to be appropriate. Parents tend to punish their teens by taking away something the adolescent enjoys, for example no TV for a week. Lets take the earlier example of the chores not being done, such as the laundry left in a heap. It would be more beneficial to the development of your teen if you base the penalty on a natural connection between his action and the punishment.
A good way of showing the consequences to his action in this instance would be having him do your laundry as well as his next time, since you had to do his this time. When following such a step, you are practicing “silent communication”. This means letting him experience the natural consequences of his actions. This technique speaks louder than any words ever could. It illustrates to all people that they will be held accountable for what they do. As they grow, teens tend to receive more privileges from parents. It is important for them to realize that more responsibility goes along with the extra freedom. We all praise our teen sometimes. We tell them, “You are a smart kid. Perhaps you might say, “You are a good piano player. We mean well, but unfortunately this kind of praise doesn’t bring the desired effect of making your teen feel good about himself.