When talking to your teen, it’s important to remember that they are building skills for analyzing and judging. Don’t take it personally if they are more critical of you then they used to be.
They are also creating their own identity. Let them! Try to connect with your teen by intentionally talking to them without inserting your opinion or direction. Allow yourself to be curious and open to what is going on with your child, their school, their friends, their activities.
If your teen comes to you with something they’re upset about, give them space to vent. Instead of telling them how to handle the problem, empathize without fixing. This will help you see what your teen is really thinking and feeling. Then, ask how you can help them solve the problem.
Finally, if you want to know more about your child’s day than that it was “fine,” try asking more pointed questions:
- What went well today at school?
- What’s coming up that you’re excited about?
- What made you laugh today?
- Who did you sit with at lunch today? Who would you like to sit with?
- What was a challenge for you today?
- If you could teach one class, which one would it be? Why?
- What was something that bothered you today?
- How did you (or could you have) made someone’s day better?
- Which one of your friends is most similar to you? Which one is most different?
- What one rule do you wish you could change at school?
To strengthen your relationship with your teenager, it is most important that they are connected to themselves. That is what coaching can do.
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