Talking to teenagers nowadays is difficult and more laborious more than ever. Parents find it challenging to build a good communication effectively with them. One factor where relationship constraints occur between parents and their children is the problem of talking and trying to understand both parties. To understand teenagers’ feelings and thoughts, parents can employ different techniques. Here are examples of ways on how to encourage teens to express themselves and to practice active listening.
Make Time For Them
Parents should convey to their teens that they are available any time to hear their stories and questions. If they sense that parents are not open, teens may tend to divert or seek attention to peers. At times, they might get advice from the wrong people. One practice in providing openness is to stop what you are doing for a moment and start a conversation with your teens. In talking to them, maintain eye-level contact, offer a calm environment and be attentive to what they are saying.
Many times, teens will converse first about small things like schoolwork and their friends. They will first assess their parents’ readiness to listen. In return, parents should show interest in these mundane topics. Eventually, teens will confide secrets and essential information after gaining trust and confidence. Usually, a spontaneous conversation is the best type of “talk” with teenagers. It is best to create a fun yet learning environment for parents and the teenager.
Carl E. Pickhardt PhD, wrote, “That’s one important point for parents to remember: listening affirms that the speaker has something worthwhile to say. Not listening denies or dismisses that value.” He added, “A second point is that listening is an investment parents need to make.”
When teens start to open about their views and concerns, do not criticize and make snide comments about their stand. Do not pull the rabbit from the hat prematurely. With the apparent generation gap, it is unavoidable for parents and teens to have an opposing view, but to get along, both parties should show respect. Parents need to acknowledge the differences and try to understand each other’s feelings. If so, teens will feel important and convey an open relationship.
In her article on the language of respect, Marilyn Price-Mitchell PhD, said, “When we respect children and teens, they learn to believe in themselves and us.” She also wrote, “Respect is a two-way street where adults are the pace-setter cars.”
Avoid Sermons: It’s No Longer Effective
Teens want a simple, straightforward answer from their parents. The long and lecturing parenting style is tiring and boring for youngsters. Long speeches are burdensome and outright, annoying. Teens tend to distance themselves and most likely will not share with you next time.
Acknowledge That You Make Mistakes Too
Humans as they are. Parents have shortcomings too. Parents should not be hesitant in saying sorry or accepting wrongdoings. There is nothing wrong with apologizing. Teens can learn from their parents’ mistakes serve and will also enlighten teens that even in power, parents are not afraid to repent. This builds a good character as a role model.
Encourage Independent Thinking
Although parents can give advice, they should draw a line to let their teens learn and discern truth for themselves. Let them explore various ways on how to solve their problems and take accountability and responsibility from their decisions and choices. This will cultivate teens’ confidence and self – esteem.
Be A Trustworthy Confidant
Teens want to talk about their problems privately and confidentially. Parents should not indulge in talking about their issues with other people. This will shatter an excellent connection and will not build up a healthy relationship between parents and their teens.
“So, when you’re at one of those rare moments when they decide to talk with you, your children need to feel understood and supported,” wrote Javier Fiz Pérez, PhD.
If parents fail to obtain a clear understanding of their teens’ feelings, and teens will feel bad towards their parents, the equilibrium of the relationship is lost. As a responsible parent, use every opportunity to influence your child to create and establish a good communication thereby, producing a good foundation for a parent-child relationship.