Teens have it hard. Their bodies go through an awkward stage, they have to keep up their grades and let’s not even go there about social media.
All that pressure can make a teen shut down and keep feelings to themselves. As a result, it turns into anger and lashing out at anyone who crosses their path. And parents are no exception.
How To Communicate With Your Teen
Recently, my mom radar was on high alert. Knowing that if I just came right out and asked what was wrong, I used these strategies with my 16-year-old last night and it helped.
If you’re struggling to communicate with your teen, here are 5 strategies that can help if you don’t want to reach out and risk being rejected or lashed out at, but you know he or she needs your support.
1. When your teen is acting like an asshole (e.g., gruff, defensive, avoidant), they may need your support more than you know.
3. Keep communication simple. No lectures. Tell your teen you want to help. Ask them to a list of three stressors in order of significance.
3. Then ask them to make a second list about what they’re doing to address each stressor.
4. Ask them to write a list about what you could do to help. Explain that you may not agree with them, but you want to know what they’re thinking and feeling. Ask them to come find you when they’re done.
4. Sit down together and read their lists without judgment. If they’re stressed about grades, ask what they think is causing the problem. I like to pretend I’m at the office with a teenage client or a sweet, curious aunt who has no agenda.
5. Finally, ask help your teen come up with a plan. Keep it simple (e.g., email my Calculus teacher, go to school early for math help 1 day a week, do my homework at the dining room table instead of my room where I get distracted). Then have them write it down.
I hope these strategies will help you and your teens get the lines of communication open. Just remember, our teens are going through a lot and need our support and understanding.
If you have any advice to communicate with a teen, please share them in the comments below!
And we’d appreciate it if you’ would share this blog post with other parents with teens.