HOW TO COMMUNICATE BETTER WITH YOUR TEEN – 13 EASY TIPS
Read the signals. Be willing to spot signs that something is wrong. Don’t pry for information, but show that you’ve noticed. When things aren’t okay, be there to listen, not condemn.
Let your teen talk. Passing remarks and non-verbal signs can signal that your child wants to talk. Teens may want to talk when you least expect or feel like it, but don’t pass up such rare opportunities. Whatever you teen tells you, don’t reject him. Knowing a horrible truth is better than being told lies.
Show your love. Despite their facade, teens need to be shown they are loved. Tell him repeatedly. Write a surprise note. Make time to share his interests and important activities. Time is the greatest show of love and care.
Don’t nag. If you’re always finding something wrong, you’ll close down communication. Complain only about important issues. Ask what you will gain by pointing out a mistake. Most teen know when they’re goofed without your itemized list.
Emphasize the good. Praise a few specific talents or abilities. Thank
her for each kind act she does for you or others.
Demand the best, but not perfection. Make sure your teen knows it’s okay to fail as long as he tried his best. Focus on effort, not performance.
Be generous with hugs. Physical affection signals importance, and is especially good when times are tense between you.
Give your teen some space. They need privacy and time along. Don’t snoop to confirm your fears of the worst.
Notice your teen’s friends. Insist on being introduced. Show an interest in them. Have them over. Teens whose parents are actively involved with their children’s friends are less likely to choose bad pals. Let your teen say, “Sorry, my parents won’t let me” as an excuse not to give in to peer pressure.
Control your anger. Count to 10 before you shout or respond. Admit aloud your feelings may require time to cool. If you blow up over everything, your teen soon will tune you out. Be willing to apologize for losing your temper.
Be your teen’s best role model. Discipline in love and consistency. Don’t threaten her with unreasonable punishments. Explain your reasons for discipline, and remember to reverse punishments that are too severe.
Seek valuable allies. Form networks with teachers, coaches, or others your teen respects. Support your child’s relationships with parental-aged friends. Ask the allies to help strengthen rapport with your child.
Pray with your teen. Explain that you think it helps any relationship, and that you want to pray together every day. Don’t put your child on the spot to pray out loud right away. Make prayer a habit. It’s hard to stay angry at someone you pray with regularly.
From Who’s Listening? What Our Kids Are Dying to Tell Us, by Jerry Johnston, Zondervan.
Christian Information Network.
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