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Communicating With Your Teen

Updated on November 5, 2012
debbiepinkston profile image

Debbie is a licensed counselor in the state of Arkansas. She lived in Venezuela and worked with a local orphanage there for many years.


How to Talk to Your Teen

One of the most difficult stages for parents is the teen stage. Parents feel frustrated, exasperated, unappreciated, and misunderstood. Teens feel misunderstood, trapped, depressed, and disconnected from their parents.

I want to share some simple tips that will help parents communicate with their teens. They may not be foolproof, but they certainly beat the silent treatment or the yelling matches that are common in homes of teenagers.

The first suggestion I want to make is this: If what you have done in the past to connect with your teen hasn't worked, then STOP. It won't work no matter how many times you try.

2. Don't preach, badger, or nag. That won't work.

3. Don't raise your voice. Your teen will get defensive, yell back at you, or retreat.

4. Look for teachable moments. Every day there are situations that can be turned into teaching moments, but be careful not to start preaching. Make your comment, short and sweet, without turning it into a long drawn out sermon. Otherwise you'll probably get the famous "eye roll" from your teen.

5. Take your teen to run an errand with you, or out to eat, and talk about casual things initially. If you try to hard to talk about the important things, they may clam up.

6. Ask your teen what he or she thinks about issues. Then shut up and listen. Rephrase what he has shared with you, and then ask how he feels about it. Rephrase and reflect again what she says, and then ask something deeper. For example "So you said some of your friends are going camping this weekend, guys and girls together. What do you think about that?"..."so you think it could be fun but so-and-so will probably 'get it on' ? How do you feel about that?"..."What do you think is the best choice for you?"

7. Be alert for the times when your teen wants to talk to you, and then drop everything!!! These times are not frequent so take full advantage of them. Usually they are in the middle of the night or when you're in the middle of something. It doesn't matter-your teen is worth it.

8. Set times aside to have fun with your son or daughter. Find out what they're interested in and find common ground. Maybe a fishing trip, or getting a manicure together is just the thing that will bring your closer together.

9. Don't lose hope! Teens DO grow up and turn into lovely adults, most of the time. It takes some longer than others, but it does eventually happen.

If you have managed to maintain communication open during the teen years, you will reap the benefits when your teens are all grown up and you can enjoy a delightful relationship with this young adult who now has more sense.



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    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      I'm glad you found these suggestions on target. I just went back to read introduction information and we have a lot in common, seeking to bring peace to others' lives, encourage them in their journey, and be a positive influence to those around us.

      You have some excellent Hubs that I'm sure are helpful to many people!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Excellent suggestions. Those teen years can really be tearful for both child and parent and knowing how to face them will really go a long way in keeping peace. it's tough love, but these ideas will help tremendously.

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      Denise, this is so true. If we help them think things through, without preaching or dictating what they must do, they can learn the skill of problem solving and learn to be resourceful.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 5 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      The teen years can certainly be stormy, especially with girls. Taking the time to listen when they want to talk gives us the opportunity to learn things about them we would not know otherwise. Oftentimes, they will solve their own problems if we simply give them a chance to express themselves.

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      Esther, it really is hard to keep it short and sweet, but once we go over the teen's limit, they simply tune us out!

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • Esther  Strong profile image

      Esther Strong 5 years ago from UK

      No 4, teachable moments - I will certainly try to look out for these. I think my difficulty will be keeping it short and sweet but I will try hard.

      Thumbs up etc.

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 5 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      Thank you Bill. Unfortunately I didn't know all of this when our teenagers started rolling their eyes...I learned from experience and the school of hard knocks.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This should be required reading for every parent. Excellent...excellent suggestions.