The Importance of Communication for Parents and Teens
As your children grow and change, the way you communicate with them will also evolve. Many parents find it difficult to understand when their teenagers become moody and begin challenging their authority.
Although you may feel hurt and rejected it’s vital to keep the lines of communication open for the sake of your relationship and your teens wellbeing.
If you’re struggling to connect or worry that your teenager doesn’t talk to you anymore, these tips will help:
- Take notice of how you speak to each other. If your conversations involve mostly arguments and accusations, you’ll need to show more empathy. This isn’t easy with a surly teen, but the effort will be worth it.
- Give them your time. To stay connected you need to spend regular quality time together. Make the effort to give them your undivided attention and really listen to what they say.
- Establish rules together. Young people will be more inclined to follow the rules if they have a say in making them. This shows that you value their input and it gives you an opportunity to explain why the rules are important. Don’t be afraid to compromise on small things. You’re teaching them how adult relationships work, and this involves give and take on both sides.
- Respect their space. Teens need privacy and space to become independent adults. Don’t pepper them with questions if they don’t want to talk. It’s their right to keep some things to themselves.
- Choose your battles. Does it really matter if your teenager’s room is messy or they left their shoes in the hall again? When you choose your battles wisely you conserve energy for more serious matters.
- Talk about the important stuff. Many parents find it hard to talk about sex and drugs, but how can you expect your kids to come to you with questions or problems if you’re too afraid to broach these subjects?
- Be supportive and positive. One of the most damaging things a parent can do is belittle a child’s interests, dreams, beliefs or fears. Your teen needs to trust that you’re on their side unconditionally before they’ll share things with you.
- Get to know their friends. Your teen may tell you things about their friends they won’t tell you about themselves. This is a good way to discuss important issues. Knowing their friends also allows you to keep up to date with what’s going on in their lives.
- Keep hugging them. Teenagers are a mess of contradictions. On one hand they crave privacy and independence, and on the other they’ve never felt so alone and abandoned. A hug now and then will remind them they’re loved and supported.
- Have trust. At some point you need to let go and trust your teen will make the right decisions. Showing trust keeps the channels of communication open.