Talking TO your teen as opposed to talking AT them can be quite tricky and difficult as they are quite temperamental at times. Always being mindful and loving, as well as patient is the key in communicating with your teen at any age in these tumultuous years. Here are some helpful tips in learning How to Talk To Your Teenager and Not at Them.
In order for teens to grow up, we as parents need to learn to start letting go; allowing them to become more independent and begin to separate from us. To develop their own unique personalities, and become more autonomous. This is easier said than done. We all want what is best for our children, and it becomes even more so when we have teenagers. With all the external pressures from the outside world it can be scary to let go but at the same time still being that parental figure. Some of the steps below might help in all of this and hopefully will pave the road into young adulthood a little less overwhelming.
Learn the Art of LISTENING: The Key to this is Listen twice as much as you speak. If your teen has something to share with you, LISTEN, unconditionally. Stop everything you’re doing (as long as it wouldn’t burn the house down, or cause some major castrophy)and listen! Communication becomes limited as our teens become more focused on their peers, and other interests they might have going on, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need us. The difference is that our job as a parent just takes on a different role.
Respect Their Privacy: If your teen sees that you respect their privacy whether it’s through a phone call or a bedroom door closed, then they are more apt to talk to you more. This is a delicate subject for parents and I feel the ONLY time parents should cross this line is when you KNOW your child is taking drugs or is involved in anything harmful or deadly. Don’t take a blind eye, we are still parents and some special circumstances do apply. Aside from that, giving your teen privacy shows that you trust them, respect them and they will feel like they are being treated more maturely.
As your trust grows, give increasing autonomy. When your teenager feels that you trust their judgement and need for growing independence, they will feel more comfortable in coming to talk to you when the bigger issues arise. Accept all of their feelings, as long as they are respectfully conveyed to you. You do not have to agree, but keep respectful and accepting of them. Judging and criticizing will only pull you apart and cause hurt and anger between the two of you. Always apologize when you are wrong. As parents we expect our children to be respectful and apologize, then it’s only right to do the same. Live by example and show them as they will learn the most from you in the long run.