Keeping the Lines of Communication Open With Your Teenager
According to dictionary.com, communication is defined as "the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs."
I believe that active, engaged communication between parents and teenagers are vitally important especially with all the various peer pressure situations that they can embark upon in today's society.
Old School Parenting
When I was growing up I always heard the same old cliche "do as I say." Yes, I know that every parent has the responsibility to lead their child(ren) towards making the right decisions; many of those based on personal experiences growing up during their respective era(s).
For my mother, she was very old school and never really wanted to sit down to have a conversation with me when I had certain questions so I talked to "my friends." Granted, this didn't make my mom a bad parent or person but it didn't make me feel comfortable going to talk to her about too much at that time.
I always knew when I became a mother that I would try to do things a little differently in regards to communicating with my child(ren). Granted, I do believe in punishment when he/she does something wrong but I never wanted to be that parent who didn't develop a strong, open communication relationship with the person that I brought into this world.
Society & Teens
While some may agree or disagree with my next statement, it is my firm belief that parents have to pay close attention to the effects of societal changes especially when it comes to raising teenagers. This includes the shows and movies viewed, the music listened to and the other young people that they may want to hang out with consistently.
There are so many things that can influence the decisions that teenagers make on a daily basis so that is why is it so important for them to be made comfortable to talk to their parents about anything. Yes - that includes the subjects such as dating, sex and his/her thoughts on current events.
There are a number of things that my son and I have done to improve our communication with each other throughout these years which I believe have helped to strengthen our relationship. It has been advantageous because he is able to talk to me openly and I am able to share my wisdom from life experiences with him.
Here are some suggested communication tips:
- Listen to each other - you have to talk to each other and not at each other so it's important to actually listen to what is being said to you.
- Do things together - it is important to do things together as a family (e.g. amusement/entertainment parks, cook dinner, movies (at home or the theater) and etc.
- Take a vested interest in at least one major thing that your teen is passionate about - "vested" doesn't necessarily mean monetary but geared towards giving up some of your time to attend events that are important to your teenager(s) which could include high school sporting events, music classes and etc.
I am well aware that most parents have their own method of child rearing especially when it comes to their teenagers; however, communication is definitely one aspect that is vitally important. With any relationship I think that you have to talk openly in order to build that concrete trust.
I hope that these tips were helpful to you and please feel free to add some of the tips that you found helpful in raising your teenager(s). Although I know that each teen's personality is different, I believe that communication is always important to them especially with their parent(s).
Until next time ...