Tips on Effective Communication with Teens
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- Use emails or instant messages.
- Use cell phones to send text messages.
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Be a better listener: Discover what your teen is trying to tell you
- Listen and talk to your teen regularly. Show interest in your teen's opinion. Try to have meals together as a family as often as possible and use the time for conversation, not confrontation.
- Be compassionate and sensitive to teen problems. Make it clear that you're always willing to listen and be sympathetic. Stress that failures are stepping-stones to success.
- Don't just listen to the words being spoken, but also observe body language and look for the deeper meaning behind the words.
Increase your child's sense of responsibility. Include them in decision making.
- Give them the opportunity to discuss family issues with you and to add meaningful suggestions. If you take those suggestions seriously, your teen will realize their input is valued.
- Let them help you find alternative solutions to a problem.
- Guide them in the right direction and give them good choices, then allow them to make some decisions.
Three ways to create open communications with your teen
- Communicate with open-ended, not closed conversation. For example: "Tell me about how the party went", rather than, "Did you enjoy the party?
- Be honest with your teen and respect them and their feelings.
- Be an active listener with an open mind. Let your teen know that he or she can discuss things with you, if they are worried.
Eliminate the stress of face to face conversations with your teens
- Talk in the car while you run errands together
- Talk while undertaking an activity together e.g. you making dinner together
- Talking when you exercise together like taking a walk with your teen
Tips to avoid hurting your teen's feelings while talking about tough issues
- Don't attack their friends - they'll take it personally.
- Don't lecture about the same problem over and over.
- Focus on the positive and work together to address the negative.
Making it comfortable for your teen to open up to you
- Express unconditional love and control your emotions and reactions to what they tell you.
- Become involved in your teen's life to build a positive relationship. Tell them about your experiences if they are similar to their experiences.
- Be supportive and interested in what interests your teens. Attend his or her sports events, learn about their hobbies.
Tips to handling a heated conversation with your teen
- Remain calm, positive, and patient.
- Let you teen express her feelings, but try to keep her focused on the issue.
- If the situation escalates, tell your teen you can finish the conversation later after everyone has calmed down.
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