Today we are going to look at how to effectively communicate with teenagers
More often than not, parents find it challenging to effectively communicate with teenagers.
Moms and dads have lived through feeding their kids during the wee hours, toddler tantrums, and school day blues. Yet, the fact that their kids are now teens and would like to explore the world on their own seems unfathomable.
From birth until the first 18 months, a child is completely dependent on his parents for nourishment, survival, and emotional care. As the child matures into the so-called formal operational stage, adults should learn how to adapt their parenting style.
According to renowned scientist Jean Piaget, the formal operational stage is the final stage of cognitive development. It begins in the pre-adolescence stage until adult life. The person is now able to understand abstract concepts like justice and relationships — their thoughts and emotions that they might document in journals for teens.
Thus, it is important for parents to learn how to reconcile their discipline methods with the realization that their child is becoming their own person. Positive parenting is a modern parenting method, where dignity and respect become the center of the reinforcement.
Effectively Communicate with Teenagers
Here are eight strategies on how to effectively communicate with your teenagers using positive parenting
1. Listen and pay attention
It is normal for teens to hold back information or emotions from their parents especially when the dynamics in the house change.
Teens become more preoccupied with academic and extracurricular activities, while parents are too busy at work or are experiencing some marital problems. Whatever the situation is, communication is at its crucial point during this stage.
Communicating with teens is a whole new different universe compared to when your child is much younger. Adolescents are more likely to shy away from certain topics, but they also want to be heard. They become more critical of other people’s comments about them.
Asking direct questions may not necessarily yield the best answer that parents want. Teens want to establish trust so they can share details about their current life.
Hear their stories, hopes, pain, disappointments, and aspirations without judgment. Let them feel that they are accepted for everything they do.
2. Give them the opportunity to talk to you
Some parents think that their teenage sons or daughters need less time and attention because they are capable of doing things on their own. The truth is, this is a critical time for parents to spend more time and reconnect with their children emotionally and psychologically.
Conversations do not necessarily have to be serious. Teens enjoy bonding with their parents over activities like cooking, hiking, driving, and shopping.
You will be surprised how teens naturally open up on certain topics that they otherwise would not do when they are in an intimidating situation.
3. Control your emotions when you communicate with teenagers
Nowadays, teenagers like to exercise freedom with their decisions and actions. When this freedom is somehow controlled, they withdraw.
Like snails, teens shut down when they face aggression. They believe that they are human beings who deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
Parents need to control their emotions when they encounter this kind of resistance from their teenage child. Positive parenting does not operate based on emotions in difficult situations but rather logic and reasoning.
Communicate with your child in the same lens that he sees the problem.
4. Make sure you feed them first
Several studies have shown a correlation between irritability and hunger. Hungry people are more likely to react negatively to problematic situations. On the other hand, people who ate first before engaging in heated talks or arguments are more stable.
If you want to discuss an important matter with your child, make sure that he is well-fed to increase the odds that he has a sound mind. The body will allot its energy into digesting the food rather than putting up a fight or flight response.
5. Give them options
Teenagers are advocates of freedom of speech. They voice their opinions on issues that are relevant to them. Naturally, they do not like dictation.
Helicopter moms and dads ‒ parents who tend to micromanage their children ‒ feel frustrated about their rebellious child. Positive parenting does not work by constantly telling the child what they can and cannot do.
Instead, tell them the consequences of their actions. Give them options and let them know that you expect them to do the right thing. This gives them a sense of responsibility and accountability over their decisions.
6. Let go of your expectations when you communicate with teenagers
It is normal for parents to expect the best for their children. However, teens can suffer if they feel they cannot meet your expectations and everything they do is not good enough.
Let go of your expectations. Instead, help your child to achieve his fullest potential. Allowing them to explore their abilities and personalities helps increase their self-esteem and self-confidence.
By letting go of these expectations, you are creating a healthier relationship with your child.
7. Show them your trust
In most situations, parents are overpowered by the fear their child might make big mistakes. They worry their children might get hurt in the process.
This tendency of sheltering your child from the world, as harsh as it is, can only do more harm than good. Try your best to show your trust to your teen.
Surprisingly, teens become more wary of their actions and their consequences when parents trust them completely. They are careful not to disappoint their elders and so they are more likely to think through their decisions.
8. Let them know you are there to help
Your child is conditioned by the fact that you are always there to help them out. There is no need to change this dynamic just because they grew more independent. Despite being surrounded by groups of friends, your teen actually desires to do things with you.
Let them know you are there whenever they need your help. Be sensitive when they try to seek your help or advice on topics like bullying or relationships. Always give them the benefit of the doubt, but make them realize that any wrongdoing is not tolerated.
Communicating with your teenage children may be one of the most difficult stages of parenting. Most parents would experience a disconnect with their child once they reach their teenage years. But with positive parenting, you can teach your kid to be understanding of the people around him and that he should treat everyone with respect. Doing so can lead to harmonious family life.
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