Tips for Communicating With Your Teen - Child Mind Institute
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Tips for Communicating With Your Teen – Child Mind Institute

The teenage years have a lot in common with the terrible twos. During both stages, our kids are doing new and exciting things, but they’re also pushing boundaries (and buttons) and throwing tantrums. the main developmental task facing both age groups is also the same: children must move away from parents and begin to assert their own independence. no wonder they sometimes act like they think they’re the center of the universe.

This complicates parenting, especially as teens are beginning to make decisions about things that have real consequences, like school, friends, and driving, not to mention substance use and sex. But they’re still not good at regulating their emotions, so teens are prone to taking risks and making impulsive decisions.

Reading: How to connect with your teen

This means that having a healthy and trusting parent-child relationship during adolescence is more important than ever. however, staying close isn’t easy. teens are often not very kind when they reject what they perceive as parental interference. Although they are an open book to their friends, with whom they talk constantly through text messages and social networks, they can be speechless when mom asks how their day was. a request that seemed reasonable to Dad could be received as a serious outrage.

If this sounds familiar, take a deep breath and remind yourself that your son is going through his terrible adolescence. it is a phase that will pass, and his work as a father remains vitally important, only the role may have changed slightly. here are some tips for navigating the new terrain:

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1. listen. if you’re curious about what’s going on in your teen’s life, asking direct questions may not be as effective as just sitting back and listening. Children are more likely to be open with their parents if they don’t feel pressured to share information. remember that even a casual comment about something that happened during the day is their way of communicating, and you’re likely to listen more if you stay open and interested, but not intrusive.

2. Validate their feelings. Often our tendency is to try to solve our children’s problems or downplay their disappointments. but saying something like “they weren’t right for you anyway” after a romantic disappointment can come across as dismissive. instead, show children that you understand and empathize by mirroring the comment, “Wow, that sounds hard.”

3. show confidence. teens want their parents to take them seriously. Look for ways to show that you trust your teen. asking them for a favor shows that you trust them. offering a privilege shows that you think they can handle it. Letting your child know that you have faith in him will increase her confidence and make her more likely to rise to the occasion.

4. don’t be a dictator. You can still set the rules, but be prepared to explain them. While pushing boundaries is natural for teens, listening to your detailed explanation of why parties aren’t allowed on school nights will make the rule seem more reasonable.

5. Praise. Parents tend to praise children more when they are younger, but teens need a self-esteem boost too. Teens may act like they’re too cool to care what their parents think, but the truth is, they still want their approval. It’s also good for your relationship to look for opportunities to be positive and encouraging, especially when you’re feeling stressed.

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6. control your emotions. It’s easy for your temper to flare when your teen is rude, but don’t respond in kind. remember that you are the adult and that they are less able to control their emotions or think logically when they are upset. Count to ten or take a deep breath before answering. If you’re both too upset to talk, press pause until you’ve had a chance to calm down.

7. doing things together. Talking isn’t the only way to communicate, and during these years it’s great if you can spend time doing things you both enjoy, whether it’s cooking, walking, or going to the movies, without talking about anything. staff. It’s important for children to know that they can be close to you and share positive experiences, without having to worry about you asking intrusive questions or calling them to the rug about something.

8. sharing regular meals. sitting down to eat together as a family is another great way to stay together. Dinner conversations give each member of the family a chance to check in and talk casually about sports, TV, or politics. Children who are comfortable talking with their parents about everyday things are likely to be more open when more difficult things come up. one rule: no phones.

9. Be observant. It’s normal for children to experience some changes as they mature, but pay attention if you notice changes in their mood, behavior, energy level, or appetite. Likewise, take note if he stops wanting to do things that used to make him happy, or if you notice that he isolates himself. If you notice a change in your teen’s daily ability to function, ask about it and be supportive (without judging). they may need your help and it could be a sign that they need to talk to a mental health professional.

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