Good communication with your teenager is one of the foundations of good parenting. It is even more important in stressful situations, such as what your family is going through. As children become adolescents, they usually become more involved with peers and talk less to parents. Less communication with parents can be a regular part of building independence. Teenagers want and still need to communicate with their parents, feel close to their parents, and be able to turn to their parents if they have problems or need to talk. Here are some tips for establishing good communication with your teenager.
The best thing you can do is listening to achieve good communication. Listening sounds simple but is often not.
– Let your teenager finish his, her thoughts.
– Let him, her tell the whole story.
– Don’t try to fix the situation right away.
– Remember that listening doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with what (s)he says.
Sometimes (s)he just needs to talk and know that you care enough to try to understand. You don’t have to interrupt, agree or disagree, or come up with an immediate solution to his problems. To begin with, you just have to listen. Here are some simple listening rules.
1) Pay attention.
Try to concentrate on what your teenager is saying, instead of thinking about what you want to say in return. Stop what you are doing, if necessary, to be able to pay attention. Make sure you are not distracted so that you can listen well.
2) Repeat from time to time
Sometimes you can repeat things your teenager said to make sure you got it right. This helps you understand, and also shows that you are listening. Be careful not to conclude too quickly when repeating it. For example, if your teenager says: “I forgot to call my teacher yesterday. I don’t know why I have to call her. I’m doing well. That’s a stupid rule,” you could say:
Show that you’re listening, like, “So you’re wondering why you should call if you’re okay, right?” or “Sounds like it’s hard to remember to call your teacher if you’re okay, right?”
Examples of bad listening. “Yeah, Yeah, you want to break the rules again, right?” or, “You know you have to call teacher, so go ahead and do it.”
3) Ask questions once in a while
Asking occasional questions shows that you’re interested. On the other hand, be careful not to ask too many questions or take over the conversation with questions. You could ask: “What did your teacher say when you spoke to him last week?” or “What if you called him today?”.
If your teenager talks to you about a concern or problem, try not to judge or criticize him while in the “listening mode. Listen first. Hold on to your opinion until later, after your teenager has finished.
5) Be understanding
Show that you are trying to understand how your teenager feels. Even in the case, you don’t agree with what your teenager is saying, it is still useful to put yourself in your teenager’s shoes and communicate that you understand how he or she feels.
6)Use “Door Openers”
Instead of “Door Closers” in communication.
Door Openers – Encourages your teenager to talk openly.
“You can tell me what happened.” or “What do you think is the right thing to do?” “What do you think of that?” “What happened next?” “That’s a good question.”
Close door: Makes your teenager reluctant to open up.
“I don’t want to hear that kind of talk.” or “So what? “I’ll tell you what to do…” “Why are you asking me that?” “Don’t come crying if you end up in a mess.”
7) Other means of communication
Communicating in particular
Teenagers need details, especially when it comes to communicating rules and expectations. When giving instructions or feedback to your teenager, talk about specific behaviours, not personalities or generalities. Also, if possible, tell the teenager what to do, rather than just what not to do.
Talk about behaviour, not personal traits.
For example, if your teenager hasn’t done his chores, you might say, “You haven’t done your chores yet; I want you to finish them,” instead of, “You think you’re too old to do chores?” or “If you weren’t so irresponsible, I wouldn’t have to remind you”.
Talk about details, not generalities.
It’s better to say, “Last week you weren’t ready to leave for treatment on time,” rather than: “You’re never on time when we have to leave for treatment; you mess around every week.”