Ah, adolescence.

I remember those days well. Well, I should say that I’d really love to forget those days, (LOL) Adolescence for me, like many other teens is really a crossroads between thinking I was grown and constantly being reminded I really wasn’t. And the former reality resulted in my butting heads with my mother. I grew up in a single parent home with my mother raising my younger sister and I. From the time I was about 12, I just couldn’t see eye to eye with my mom. I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t let me do what I  wanted to do. When we would argue, my constant demand was for her to LISTEN to me. It always seemed like we were speaking two different languages and in a lot of ways we were. She, like a lot of our parents, have a certain way of thinking and therefore raise their kids accordingly. However, in this day and time, being a young adult can be quite challenging. With the rise of social media and other technology, we have to navigate this world quite differently than our parents. As a mom of a 5 year old, I really can wait for him to reach his teenage years. (LOL) Talking to your teenager doesn’t have to be a knockdown drag-out fight though, I will provide 3 ways to effectively get through to your teen:

  1. Have an OPEN DOOR policy.

The first step in getting your teen to open up to you is to make it clear that you are always there to talk. Your teen must first feel comfortable approaching you in the first place. This can begin by asking your child about their day and/ or picking up on their emotions and simply inquire. 2. Actually LISTEN to what your teen has to say. Note: Hearing and Listening are slightly different. A lot of time when we communicate, we tend to hear for an opening for us to respond instead of fully hearing out what the person really is trying to say. When talking to your teen, show that you care about what they are trying to say by simply hearing them out. Immediately jumping in with your opinion will come off as disregarding and your child will shut down. Show you’ve heard them by reflecting back to them what you understood. (e.g ” So from what I understand, you’d like a longer curfew? Is that right?) 3. Offer your opinions and suggestions Believe it or not, your child does care about what you think even though they might not always express it. HOWEVER, the key is to offer suggestions and opinions without sounding condescending or judgmental.  Talk on their level. AND whatever you do please don’t say things like “When I was your age…” or anything of the sort. As I said previously, your childhood and theirs is vastly different so what you did as a young adult is of little use to them. Talking to teenagers can be like pulling teeth (I know, remember I used to be one) but they most definitely need you during this formative period of their lives. The world can be so very cruel and it’s up to you as the parent to try to make it less painful, as impossible as that may seem at times. Even though you may not always agree, they will keep the lessons that you’ve taught them forever.

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