Sometimes talking with our kids can spiral way out of control. You walk into a discussion trying to ask your teen to do something and suddenly you’re both shouting. You both leave the conversation upset and furious and nothing productive happened. Here are some tips on how to have a productive conversation with your teen.
Try listening first
Often we order our kids about and expect them to instantly obey no matter what they are in the middle of doing. That is the first mistake in trying to gain someone’s cooperation. Instead, try to find out where they are mentally and emotionally before you make a request. Ask questions about what they are up to and if they have any pressing concerns. This may seem really dumb because, of course, you can see that they are playing video games. The key is to figure out if they are playing because they have nothing better to do or are they trying to blow off some stress after an overwhelming and demanding school week. If you listen, you can adapt how hard you come down on your teen for not following rules or instructions.
Show them that you understand where they are at and that you’ve felt the same way. Even if the place they are at is that they are so close to winning this level and they’ve spent 3 hours straight working on it. Show them you are in their corner and understand their point of view. Sometimes that’s all you need to patch up a fight or win your teen’s cooperation. Say things like, “I see you feel…” “What I heard you say is…”
Make a request but be prepared
You know how your kid reacts to your requests. It drives you batty because they just won’t listen. So, don’t go into a conversation unprepared. Decide how you are going to react to a refusal or defiance. Then be calm about when you inform your child about the consequences they will get for not obeying. Then follow through. Remember it may take several rounds of getting in trouble before your kid decides to modify their behavior. Stay calm and don’t instantly hit the roof because you lost one battle. Look at your relationship and your teen’s development from the long view. This is really hard. It is extremely frustrating but remember to see the person instead of their behavior.
Identify when you need more help
Sometimes all of these attempts backfire. Sometimes the problems are more than you can realistically handle. Find resources that can help you whether that is a family member, therapist, or clergy member. Sometimes medical intervention or different schooling environments are needed for kids with severe behavior issues. Remember that there is help for all types of parents out there. Don’t get discouraged and don’t give up.
Leave a Reply