Improving Communication with your Teens
They can talk all night, except to you..
I have been actively parenting children for almost 26 years and I can tell you most teens have a wall up at some point in their teen years between you and them. It's often a hard pill for a parent to swallow as your children make the transition from being that precocious little person that thought you had all the answers, to this larger, moody young adult that regards you as an alien life force.
Many times this invisible wall begins to show up during puberty and a lot of times the reason is because your teen is going through a lot of changes, some of which are possibly embarrassing to talk about. They are having feelings that are strange, their body is changing, hormones are going out of control and quite possibly they are confused about a lot of things they never had to think about before.
Walls between you and your teen may start at puberty but they don't end there. Sometimes the wall gets thrown up when they start experimenting with sex, drugs and alcohol. All of these things are possible causes and possible red flags that mom and dad have to pay attention to. The next step is getting involved in a dialogue so that you and your teen can have these difficult conversations and feel comfortable in doing so.
I found that one way to get started is by sharing your own personal experiences with your teenager. Teenagers can relate a lot easier to you if they know you've made your mistakes along the way too. Their fear of disappointing you will keep them from wanting to open up so be sure to let them know you've "been there, done that" yourself. Teenagers don't need a perfect parent to relate to, but a wise parent that had to go through their own set of challenges as a teenager. They also need an honest parent that will not try to portray themselves as perfect but as real people, human beings that have made a lot of wrong decisions in life too. The most important thing is when you are opening up to your teenager is to share the lesson you learned from the situations you've been in.
If you make a habit of being open and honest with your teenager, chances are they will begin to feel safe in being open and honest with you. This is a gradual process so don't overwhelm them too much all at once, but slowly share over time. Give them a chance to you who you were, when you were a teen..Build trust and communication gradually and you will have a teenager that is going to open up.