By Deanna Evenbeck (Roddy)
Raising a teenager can be a very difficult and confusing task. Parents may sometimes feel that they don’t know the proper way to communicate with their teenager and this can cause some distance between the parent and the teenager. Despite the emotional roller coaster that a teen may go through, there are some things you can do to effectively communicate with your child.
Encourage your child to talk. When teenagers don’t want to talk about something with their parents, they will typically give short, to the point answers. Some things you can do to encourage your child to open up is to ask them open ended questions, according to parentingateenager.net. . Let your child know that you are here for him or her and that you care about their feelings and emotions.
Make time for your child. Many teenagers feel that their parents are too busy to talk to them. Reassure them that you are never too busy to talk to them and that the door is always open. Set aside some time a few times throughout the week or even every day to have some alone time with your teenager. Give them a chance to tell you about their day and any unanswered questions they may have. Be open to any kind of questions your teen may have, even if they are the uncomfortable questions such as sex or drugs.
Invite your child’s friends over. Encourage your teen to invite some of his friends over for dinner or a movie. Meeting and getting to know some of your teenager’s friends can be a great way for you to find out more of what your teenager is like, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Make your home a comfortable place for your teen and his friends to hang out and spend some time at.
Be encouraging to your child. When having a conversation with your teenager, be sure to stay aware of how you are reacting to the conversation. Is your body language and response encouraging or are you acting in a way that may put off your teenager and make him feel uncomfortable talking to you? Be sure to have direct eye contact with your child and reassure him that you understand what he is saying, even if you need to paraphrase it back to him. When your teen does something good, tell him what a great job he did and how proud you are of him. Even if he doesn’t succeed at something, encourage him to try harder and let him know that you are still proud of him no matter what.
Don’t talk down to your teenager or criticize him/her.
Always ensure your teenager that you are attempting to understand their problem and what they are going through.
Allow your teenager to have a different view from yours; remember that they don’t always have to agree with you and vice versa.
When you need to have an important talk with your teenager, try to do it in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted by others.