Within the title of parent, comes many jobs. You are there to comfort, discipline, provide, guide, set an example and more. So, the conversations if you have with your teen will have different objectives. When you are trying to strenghten your connection, here are seven tips for better communication:
- Validate feelings. Simply acknowledge how they feel, without trying to change it.
- Be curious. This means listen and ask questions without an agenda or judgement. If the goal is to streghten your communication, some conversations are not the time to insert your advice or lecturing.
- Set the tone. Be intentional about your mood and the mood of your house. Teens are very intuitive. If they sense that you are always watching them or trying to catch them, they will not want to connect with you.
- Be present. Your teen is often distracted, so when you are with them, it is important that you catch the moments when they are willing and able to talk. It can be helpful to have a no-phone rule at meal time or in the car.
- Accept their opinions. The teenage brain is trying to learn and manage a lot. Allow them space to work through shifting beliefs, even when you don’t agree. Let them know that you grateful they’re sharing with you.
- Use others’ examples. If your teen is telling you about a friend making poor choices, it is tempting to say, “Well I hope you’d never do that!” Instead, try using that story as an opportunity to get to know what your teen is thinking. Ask, “What do you think of that?” “Why do you think they did that?”
- Plan activities. Getting your body in motion can make conversation easier. See a movie and get dinner after, so you can discuss the movie. Go for a walk, volunteer, go bowling, rock climbing, shopping, take a cooking class or any other activity that allows you to talk in between the action.
Even when you have great communication, it is often helpful to have another adult for your teen confide in. Coaching can provide that outlet plus life-changing, confidence-building tools they will carry with them for life.
Learn more with a free one-on-one parent consultation.