Rebuilding The Bridge Of Communication With Your Teen After You’ve Torched It

Rebuilding The Bridge Of Communication With Your Teen After You've Torched It

Anyone who has raised kids will tell you that the teenage years are the most difficult for both parent and child to get through. While there are a number of reasons that make it difficult for parents to connect with their children at this age, the number one reason parents and teens battle so fiercely is because they are not communicating effectively. If you are currently raising a teenager and continually feel like you’re unable to speak to them without getting an eye roll, snarky remark, or raised voice then here are a few tips that will help you rebuild the bridge of communication with your teen.

Where The Problem Lies

As parents we want the very best for our children and will do all that we can to ensure that they reach their potential. We’re smarter than our teens, we’ve lived longer, we know what they’re going through and undoubtedly if they listened to everything we tell them, their lives would be a lot easier. Here in lies the problem, as parents we become obsessed with telling our children what they need to be doing so that they can achieve the life we’ve envisioned for them and avoid all of the mistakes that we made, but our teens only hear criticism and react defensively.

Communicating With Your Teen

While you hope that your teenager can learn from your mistakes, you must also understand that mistakes are what help shape us into who we are and whether we like it or not, our teenagers are going to mess up. This isn’t to say that you should stand idly by waiting for your teenager to make a mistake. Instead focus on how you can better communicate with your teenager.

  • Active Listening– when you practice active listening you are focusing solely on what your teenager is saying and not what your response to them will be. When you practice active listening you are not, judging or attacking, acting negatively, or becoming defensive.
  • Ask Beneficial Questions– Rather than asking your teen “Do you have any idea what time it is?” which will immediately make your child defensive, try asking them instead “How was your night” and after they’ve responded and you’ve actively listened, try telling them “it’s pretty late, can you make sure and make curfew next time?”
  • Respond Appropriately– Simply by restating and confirming what your teen has told you will help them know that you value what they have to say.
  • Provide Solutions– When your teen does confide in you be a sympathetic listener by saying phrases like “I’m sorry you had to go through that” and ask “can I offer you some advice that might help?”
  • Offer Validation– Everyone appreciates being validated, and your teenager will respond well to being told “I’m really proud of you for coming to that conclusion.”

Effective Communication

By practicing these five tips you will soon recognize a positive change in your relationship with your teenager. Once your teen recognizes that you are making a real effort to listen and understand what they have to say, they will be more receptive to accepting your advice. This change won’t have instantaneous results, it will take time to prove to your teen that you are dedicated to effective communication, but the rewarding conversations will be well worth the wait.

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