Raising a teen is hard! Your son or daughter was so cute when he/she was little, now they are not listening to you, they seem to not care about anything, it seems like they are shutting you out and you are wondering what happened. Read below for 4 tips to improve communication with your teen.
We are all busy and we tend to multitask to try to get more things done. We are doing dishes while we are asking our teen “How was school?”, we might be making dinner while we ask our teen “How was your day?”
Giving undivided attention means designating 10-15 minutes a day for your teen; during this time you are engaging in eye contact, you are leaning towards your teen and you are giving verbal cues that you are listening. Try to give your teen the attention that they are asking for in a positive manner.
2-Ask Questions Without Judgement
The best way to explain this one is to ask your teen questions from a place of curiosity as opposed to jumping to judgments. It can be easy to say “what were you thinking?! Are you trying to give me a heart attack? How can you fail your class?” Instead, try asking “I wonder what your struggles are? What do you think can help you perform better in class?” You will be surprised at the interaction you can have with your teen when you ask questions without judgement.
3-Provide Positive Feedback
Communicate the positive things that your teen says or does. If you see your teen daughter helping her little brother, try saying “I’m so proud of you helping your brother, you are a really good sister.” At times, it might seem hard to find positive things that your teen might be doing but trust me, you can find something if you look hard enough.
4-Model Expressing Feelings In A Healthy Way
Sometimes we expect our kids to behave in a way that they might not be exposed to. Try modeling for your teen how you express uncomfortable feelings (anger, sadness, stress). That can be saying “I am so frustrated with this traffic, I need to take some deep breaths” or “Work was very stressful today, I am going to go take a bath.” This can be a hard tip to apply because it may require investing in therapy, self-care, and knowing how to self-regulate so that we can model expressing feelings in a healthy way to our teens but I believe in you! You can do it.
Try incorporating any or all of these tips and you will see an improvement in communicating with your teen. If you want more information or are ready for therapy, reach out to us. We offer a free 15-minute phone consultation. We specialize in working with teens and we would love to work with you and your teen. We are here to help and to the Change The World One Person At A Time.
*Great News! We will be having a free workshop 'Communicating with your Teen' at the Barbara Bush Branch Library in Spring, TX on November 14, 2019. Please follow our Facebook Page for more information.