Teens are not always the most easy people in the world to understand or communicate with, especially when it comes to their emotions. They can be complex and moody, with their minds flitting between childhood and adulthood as they try to find their way. Not to mention the wrath of the female hormones! However, this does not rule out the possibility of conversing with teenagers.
Part 1 Creating a Time to Talk
1. At the dinner table, strike up a conversation with someone. Encourage conversation during dinner to help you spend more quality time with your family.
Everyone should turn off their cellphones or place them in a separate area. In this manner, you will be able to concentrate your attention on the dinner conversation.
Prepare a few questions for everyone at the table to respond to, and refrain from judging their responses. Concentrate on topics such as the events of everyone’s day, future plans with friends, or your thoughts on the meal itself. Choose “neutral” topics that will not elicit a heated debate or a confrontation.
Make an effort to get to know your teen on a personal level. Inquire about the television shows or books that they are currently watching or reading with them. Please share your own personal favourite television shows or books.
Another tactic you can use at the dinner table is to inquire about your teen’s favourite memory from the previous day. Simple things like a good test score or a funny joke told by a friend during lunch can make a big difference. Alternatively, it could be related to current events, such as the landing of the Mars rover. Share your favourite memory with your adolescent as well. Don’t interrupt them when they’re talking about their favourite part.
2. Make use of the time you have in the car to have a conversation. You should make use of the time spent driving with your teen as their designated chauffeur. Make the most of your driving time by engaging in conversation with them. It is possible for some drivers to become distracted by other passengers in the car. As a result, spend more time introducing topics of conversation and then listening to your teen’s reactions.
Maintain a natural and open tone throughout the conversation. In your immediate surroundings, you could make observations (e.g., “Did you see that guy make that left turn?” “This traffic light seems to be taking forever, huh?”). Alternatively, you could stick to the basics of conversation, such as your teenager’s plans for the evening or what time they require a ride home.
3. During a commercial break, start a conversation with someone. Watch the evening news together and have a conversation during the commercial breaks. If you and your partner are both hooked on a Netflix show, take a break between episodes. Recap what just happened in the previous scene or share your predictions for what will happen in the upcoming episode in the comments section.
This will provide you and your teen with something in common to talk about, which will almost certainly result in some natural banter between the two of you. Short bursts of communication are an effective way to elicit conversation from a reserved adolescent.
4. Before going to bed at night, have a conversation. Some teenagers find it easier to talk at night than during the day. Knock on their door and inquire as to whether or not they have time for a conversation. Before they go to bed, spend some time with them in their room and ask them about their day.
Another good way to start a conversation with your teen after a night out is to greet them and offer them a snack after they return home. This will demonstrate to them that you are available for a conversation about their evening. After spending time with their friends, your teen may be more willing to open up to you and share more information.
Consider using a conversation starter such as: “So, how was your night?” or “You looked absolutely stunning when you went out.” “How did it go?” you might wonder. Alternatively, “It was a pleasure meeting your friend when she picked you up.” “Can you tell me where you ended up tonight?”
You should refrain from questioning your teen. Try not to be overly aggressive or to inquire as to where they’ve been hiding all night. The act of anticipating their arrival and pounce-attacking them as soon as they walk through the door is likely to turn off or discourage them from speaking. Offering them a snack or dessert when they return home will make them appear more relaxed and open.
Part 2 Keeping the Communication Open
1. Make an effort to talk about topics that your teen is interested in. Whatever your teen’s interests are (sports, music, fashion, television, video games, friends, schoolwork, etc.), be open to discussing them with him or her. Make an effort to be a good listener and to demonstrate genuine interest in the topics that your teen enjoys discussing.
When it comes to listening, a good rule of thumb is to listen twice as much as you speak. Taking this approach ensures that you are providing your teen with sufficient time and attention to discuss their hobbies and interests.
2. Pay attention to how you are reacting to your teen. When it comes to doing or saying things that annoy their parents or elders, teens are masters. Instead of reacting emotionally to their actions or words, think about why they are pushing your buttons in the first place. Perhaps they are resentful of being late for an important event, or perhaps they are just being a moody teenager, but the answer is unclear.
Finding the source of a problem or issue can be accomplished by reflecting on your responses to your teen. This will almost certainly result in less fighting and more conversing.
3. Recognize when you’ve made a mistake and express regret. Due to the pressure you may be under to serve as a good role model for your teenager, this may be difficult for you to accomplish. However, admitting that you made a mistake will allow your teen to see that you are a human being with whom they can identify. Admitting that you’ve done something wrong and apologising to others sets a positive example for your teen. When a teen hears the words “I’m sorry” from their parents or another authority figure, it can be extremely powerful.
This type of positive communication will provide your teen with an opportunity to learn how to communicate honestly and respectfully with others, even when they disagree with each other. They will also gain more confidence in their ability to express their emotions to others, including you, in the future.
4. Offer your thoughts, but refrain from lecturing or nagging your adolescent. There’s a good chance you’ll hear your teen say something you don’t agree with. However, it is important to avoid making statements such as “That was a stupid decision” or “You were completely wrong about that boy.” Instead, try to express your point of view by saying something like, “I understand where you’re coming from, but this is how I see it… “. Alternatively, “I’m here to listen, but please let me know if you require any advice from me.”
Begin by taking note of your teen’s emotions. “You appear to be distressed about what happened last night.” Instead of using the word “question,” use the word “statement,” which will make the phrase sound more like a suggestion rather than an accusation.
Give them your complete attention and pay close attention to what they have to say. Place your phone away, turn off the television, or close the door. Make your teen feel as if they are in command of the situation.
As soon as they have finished speaking, offer assistance or advice. “Is there anything I can do to assist you?” inquire of them. Alternatively, “Would you like some advice?”
Often, all that is required is for teens to confide in and respect someone about their concerns or problems. It is possible that they are not looking for an easy solution or an answer to a problem. As a result, rather than lecturing them, be willing to listen to them.
5. Avoid yelling, blaming, and calling people names. These aggressive actions will almost certainly put an end to any meaningful conversations you might have with your teen. Keep in mind that you are attempting to communicate with your teen, not to shout them down or become enraged with them.
Part 3 Maintaining Communication
1. Respect the privacy of your teen. Accept the possibility of private phone calls behind closed doors, but establish ground rules. There will be no phone calls after midnight or during dinner, for instance. When your teen goes out at night, ask them where they will be, but don’t call them every five minutes to confirm their location. Maintaining your teen’s privacy will demonstrate to them that you value and believe in them. This will almost certainly encourage them to open up and share their thoughts and feelings with you.
It is critical to respect your teen’s privacy, even in the smallest of ways. One example would be knocking on their bedroom door before walking into the room with them. Alternatively, you could ask for permission to use the restroom before you enter.
Avoid interrupting your teen’s activities at different times of the day. Make a time to sit down with them and talk about their latest test score or to help them clean up their room. Don’t catch your teen off guard, as this may result in a fight between the two of you. In the event that you normally discuss these topics at dinner or in the car, bring them up with your teen at the appropriate time.
2. Allow your teen to have a say in important decisions. A move across the country or a significant financial decision will have an impact on your teen’s life. Decide together rather than forcing your teenager to make a major life decision without consulting them first. Speaking with them about the decision and listening to their point of view will demonstrate that you value their perspective. It will also most likely make the transition less painful for your teen and assist them in adjusting to the new situation.
3. Don’t tell anyone else what your teen has told you about himself or herself. Maintaining the confidentiality of your conversations with your teen will help you build trust between you two. That is, unless you have a problem that you feel you need to discuss with your partner or another responsible adult first.
If you end up disclosing your teen’s private words, this may cause communication to become strained. Perhaps your adolescent doesn’t want to take the chance of sharing intimate thoughts or opinions with you again. Respect their confidence by not disclosing what they shared with you in confidence.
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