How to Talk to Your Teenager (without Losing Your Mind)

Teenager Communication Issues


Adolescence is a tough time both for you and for your child. Your son or daughter is learning how to become a fully-fledged human being, capable of independent thought and good judgment. Unfortunately, it can take a long time for that learning to happen.

At times, even communicating with your teenager can seem like a struggle. Teenagers can be inconsiderate, disrespectful and often just angry.

While nothing you can do will fix it or eliminate the problem – short of waiting it out for the next seven to 10 years – there are some things you can do in the meantime to make the communication process easier.

  1. Real communications starts with understanding. You might be concerned about your teen’s report card, for example. You’re worried that she won’t get into college, and have to work for minimum wage for the rest of her life. At that same moment, she’s worried about getting on Facebook to chat with her friend because of a misunderstanding they had in the hallway at school today. If you want to communicate with your child, start by understanding that her priorities are different than yours – and that it’s OK.
  2. Let go of your emotional responses. Teenagers know how to get a rise out of parents. In fact, whether they realize it or not, that’s often their objective. Hard as it is, you need to take emotion out of the equation. Learn to think of communicating with your teenager as a business transaction. Don’t take the things he says personally; one day, he’ll probably be sorry he said them anyways. Dropping your anger and frustration lets you help guide your child to a better place without getting distracted just because he pushed your buttons.
  3. Ask real questions. Make it collaborative. Don’t ask loaded questions, such as “Why don’t you care about your homework?” Instead, become your child’s helper and cheerleader. “I know you’re struggling with homework. What can I do to help you manage your homework and make sure it gets done and turned in?”

Teenagers are still learning how to interact with others as adults. The most essential tools to communicating with teenagers are understanding, patience and confidence in their ability to learn to make good choices.

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