Raising a child doesn’t come with a book of instructions. If it did, the task would be much easier. Facing the teenage years with your son or daughter may seem scary but with the right type of communication, it doesn’t have to be a battle. Getting teenagers to talk seems to be something that most parents struggle with.
As your child goes from toddler to youngster to tween to teenager, something in what you say gets lost in translation. They can give you that blank stare as if the words that are coming out of your mouth sound like the unseen teacher in the Charlie Brown cartoons. Getting teenagers to talk is key in connecting with them — and learning how to listen to them will keep the connection strong.
It’s not easy to improve the communication bridges with a teen but it’s important to try to get through as these years and the choices they make now will have a vital impact on their future.
Here are a few for getting teenagers to talk :
1. Watch your body language. How you move says a lot about you. When a person is tired, they tend to slump. When angered, your jaw muscles tighten and your eyes narrow into slits. Believe it or not, teenagers are good at interpreting body language. Yours will betray you when you are around your teen. Try to avoid sitting with your arms crossed, eyes looking away from them or squirming in your seat when your teen is talking.
3. Keep your emotions in check. When it comes to getting teenagers to talk it is important to keep your emotions under control. Can you remember back to when you were a teenager? Do you remember saying things that you really didn’t mean just to get a rise out of your parents? Teenagers will push your buttons if they can so it is important that you check your emotions.
4. Ask them about their day. When working on getting teenagers to talk, don’t overlook the obvious — Talk to them. Each afternoon/evening upon seeing your teen after school and/or work ask your teen about their day. Even if your teen only grunts or says the obligatory, “It was okay”, ask anyway. Part of the battle to getting teenagers to talk starts off with just showing that you care about the ‘everyday stuff’. It will also show them that you are interested in the things that they do and how they feel.
5. Be honest with them. If you don’t understand the situation they are talking about then say so. Kids know when you are being insincere. Discuss the situation until you get an idea of where they are coming from. Your teen won’t mind explaining as long as they know you are listening. At times, this is one of the best ways of getting teenagers to talk! Have them explain something to you that you really don’t understand.
Parenting a teenager takes a tough skin, a willingness to be vulnerable and lots of love. You will make mistakes but whatever you do, don’t ever stop talking. Getting teenagers to talk honestly about whats going on with them is very important and always the key to having a healthy parent teen relationship.