Employing a few key ideas can make communicating with the teenagers in your life easier and more effective.
It is Possible
Teenagers. They eat all the food in the house, talk on the phone for hours,
and every time you ask them to clean up their rooms,look at you as if you’ve
just sprouted horns . They can be terse, uncommunicative, and leave you feeling
as if they only keep you around for your credit card and your car, and yet
children need loving input from the adults in their lives during their teenage
years more than at almost any other time. While communicating with teenagers may
feel like navigating a minefield, keeping certain principles in mind will go a
long way toward smoothing the road.
"The first duty of love is to listen" – Plato.
Everyone, it seems, is telling your teenager what to do. Teachers, coaches,
employers, and even friends are instructing your teenager every moment of the
day. How can you add your voice to this choir without sounding like a drill
The first key is to listen to your adolescents. Really listen to what
they have to say, even if you disagree. Allow them to express their feelings
safely, without the fear of you jumping down their throat. Listening to
teenagers shows them that you respect them as individuals and care about what
they have to say. It also lends credibility to what you want to say to them and
makes them more likely to listen to you. If you want them to listen to you, set
the example by listening to them. Creating an atmosphere of safe self-expression
for your teenager is the first step toward having a relationship of open
Let’s Get This Straight
Communicating effectively with teenagers requires learning the fine art of
negotiation. Establish some simple ground rules with your teenager when it comes
to the way you converse:
Treat each other with respect.
No name calling or sarcasm allowed
Listen carefully to the other person’s point of view
Your teen may also have some ground rules to add to this list. Let your
teenager know that you want to be fair. You may want to write out the rules you
agree upon together and keep them posted somewhere visible, like the
refrigerator. If you come to an impasse with your teenager, ask him or her to
help you brainstorm solutions to the problem that both of you can agree on. Help
your teenager feel like he or she has a voice in your home.