Effectively Communicating with Your Teen

If you’ve been having a hard time communicating with your teenager, all is not lost. Your teen is going through a complicated and challenging time right now. They are trying to assert their independence while still needing your consistent care and support. This can definitely create power struggles in your home, but there are ways to get along better with your teenager while teaching them to make mature decisions. Here are some tips for fighting effectively. 


Listen Effectively


You want your teen to confide in you and to trust you with their thoughts and feelings. But if there is constant fighting between you and your teen, they will be less likely to come to you when they have an issue. Learn to listen the right way so you can address your teen’s behavior without berating them. Don’t panic if your teen wants to talk to you about drugs, sex, or not going to college right away. Express your opinion without making your teen feel that you disapprove of who they are as a person. 


Coach Rather than Demand 


As your son or daughter grows, you will likely enter into power struggles with them. This is normal since your teen is realizing that they are no longer a small child and are moving toward adulthood. This means that while you still have the authority as parent, you may want to change your parenting style from giving orders to gently guiding your child. Ask your child about the pros and cons of a decision they want to make to show them that you have confidence that they’ll make the right choice. This will boost their self-esteem and prompt them to think twice when faced with peer pressure. It’s also a good idea to allow teens to make decisions on their own when it comes to their style or the hobbies they want to pursue; this helps them to continue developing their hobbies and interests or even career pursuits. 


Respond, Don’t React


It is important that you and your teen have a mutual respect for each other in order to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship. To keep the lines of communication open, your teen has to feel that they can talk to you about anything even if they know you’ll be upset or won’t agree with their decision(s). Instead of losing your temper and immediately chastising your child, respond to what they’re actually telling you. Flying off the handle and scolding your teen any time they do something you don’t agree with will cause you to end up fighting each other rather than the problem. For instance, if your child calls you and asks you to pick them up from a party because they’ve been drinking, respond to the issue at hand first. Once you thank your child for calling you instead of trying to drive home, you can again stress the dangers of underage drinking.