- Family and Parenting
How Teens Can Better Communicate with Their Parents
No matter how old we are, we all go through phases of not wanting to talk to our parents about our lives. Usually, this starts during the teenage years, and may continue through the 20's. After that, we become more readily able to see things from our parents' point of view, mainly because we tend to become parents around that time, and enter in a whole new dynamic of life. And if we did not have a good relationship with our parents in those early years, we may not readily accept having one later in life.
So let's face it: if you are a teenager, or you are a mentor to one who could use this bit of wisdom, your parents are not guaranteed to change, no matter how much you wish they could - but you can do your part to make a bad situation better, rather than making your life even more miserable. And with the way the economy is nowadays, you'd be wise to keep your parents in your life on a constant basis, because you may very well end up living with them again when (or if) you go to college and afterwards. Life's curve balls may send you back to them when you are unemployed, divorced, or stuck as a single parent.
Until then, as a teen you have to accept the fact that there will be days when you think your parents are nuts. You'll see things your way, while their way of thinking is completely foreign to you. But instead of telling them that, and being rude, you can listen to them while still being respectful. They don't always expect you to answer their lectures, just as you wouldn't want to constantly lecture them about leaving you alone. It's a fine balance of give and take, knowing how and when to pick your battles. So try not to pick arguments with them, however hormonal you may be. Words are not easily forgotten. If what they say irritates you, take it with a grain of salt, and tell them that you'll think about it. While it's not an outright lie, they would appreciate your answering them honestly and without bitterness, and you will continue to develop a positive line of communication with them. If you can have some time to yourself afterward, journal your thoughts, and take some consideration in what your parents say. It might even help to talk with a trusted friend about it, to see if you can shed some light on the situation.
You can also set aside some time to spend with your parents, doing something you like (preferrably together). It doesn't have to be a whole-day thing, but the key is to have something consistent. Parents like it if they can have chats with you, or just hear about your day. And while you may find it odd to talk to them about your life, know that they were also young once, and can actually understand more than you give them credit for. They just want you to give them a chance. Will they mess things up? Sometimes. After all, they are learning how to talk to you, just as you are trying to learn how to be more of a grown up than a kid. But if you are patient with them, they will also be patient with you. And what better way to show them that you are maturing (and can take on more grown-up responsibilities) than to develop better communication skills with your parents?