For parents, one of the most challenging stages of their children’s life is the teenage years. All the changes brought about by puberty just seem to transform children into whole different people who are easily irritated or are now distant – far from the adorable kids that used to run around your house.
One of the possible results of your kids undergoing teenage years and puberty is the rift in your relationship. They may no longer talk to you as they often do, or they seem more secretive now.
But you do not have to live with that constant issue. If communication is a serious problem between you and your child, there are ways to improve the situation. Here are some effective ways to improve your communication with your teenagers.
Perhaps you are a little hesitant to start conversations with your children if they seem uninterested in you all the time. However, you are the parent, and you should know better. Be the bigger person and try.
If you are scared to get one-word replies, ask open-ended questions, such as what they are thinking, what happened in school for that day, the best part of their day, or what causes their stress.
It is a gradual process that you need to build up to create a strong foundation for your relationship with your teen.
After initiating conversations, your teen may still seem reluctant. To respond to this, also share your thoughts with your teen. Share about your day, what stresses you, and anything under the sun. Make him feel as if you are opening up to them. By doing this, you are starting to gradually progress towards earning your teen’s trust because how would they open up to you if they feel like they can trust you.
This also relays the impression you also undergo everyday struggles and challenges and that you still have things in common.
Among all the things a teenager hates are parents who constantly jump to conclusions and judge them without hearing them out. Do not be this type of parent. Make sure that whenever something is wrong, always ask your teen’s side. Listen. Understand their side. Hold them accountable for their mistakes while also acknowledging and apologizing for your own mistakes.
Listen and stop any attempt to get angry at first. Your first response should be understanding and comfort. Also, there are ways that teens reach out to parents in discreet ways, such as casually commenting on something they saw at school. These random statements may translate as to their need for attention. Watch out for these and make sure to respond with interest to keep them talking.
Talk with the right tone
Make sure that when communicating with your teens, maintain a respectful tone. Never talk as if speaking to a child, as this makes the teenagers feel undermined and not taken seriously. Such a tone can also make them pull away and stop talking.
Some teens are quiet and secretive and won’t speak up unless asked. One way to deal with this is to spend time together. Spending time together with your teens, especially on things you enjoy, such as walking your house pet outside or cleaning the house, makes you get closer and improves your relationship. Make sure that you allot time for things like this to keep your relationship steady.
Your teens need to have quality time with you without getting afraid that you might ask some personal questions out of the blue. While this is a consideration, ensure that quality time is to initiate a casual conversation on simple things, and perhaps not on their matters, unless your relationship is steadily improving.
If you do not have anything you both enjoy together, look for things that your teen enjoys and make an effort to find ways to be with your teens while doing something they love. Make sure not to be intrusive to spoil their moments. Initially, maintain distance until you feel you are welcome in their space.
Teens face issues, as anyone does. Make sure that whenever they open up such topics, empathize before getting angry or showing any unpleasant reactions. Validate their feelings. Tell them it is normal to feel that way. You may not always know what to say, and that is okay. All you need to do is make your teen feel understood and to make them feel that you are there for them.
Communicate with their preferred mode. Your teens have a preferred mode of communication. Perhaps they are more comfortable talking through text, chat, or video call. Discover your teen’s preference and learn to communicate through this.
Conversations over dinner are essential to keep the family together. It is one of the moments where family members are together in one place, sharing delicious meals. But one rule should be strictly implemented: no phones on the dinner table.
Dinner should also be a way for you to initiate casual conversations with your teens. They may seem uninterested at first, so it is important to constantly and gradually build up this custom of dinner conversations.
Respect teen boundaries
As a parent, you have the authority in the house. But this does not mean that you can disregard the boundaries of your teenagers. Always respect their space to make them feel important and validated. This is one way of improving your relationship.
Explain the rules
In connection to the previous tip, explain house rules to your teens and make them understand why such rules exist and how these rules are for their welfare.
Continue to praise them
We thought only kids need constant praise, but in reality, even teens need praise and validation, as well. This will boost their self-esteem and would make them feel seen and appreciated. Eventually, they would know that you are paying them attention, and that can help improve your communication.
Finally, observe as your teens change. There are positive changes, and there are negative changes that can be alarming. For instance, if you noticed that they are no longer interested in the things they used to be passionate about or they are isolating themselves most of the time, it is high time to talk to them. Tell them you can help with whatever they are going through. Also, be wise whether your children need a mental health professional.