Parents trying to keep the lines of communication open with their teenagers know that getting teens to listen and accept advice can be difficult.
Teenagers communicate differently and can be stubborn when admitting they need guidance. But by strengthening our own listening skills and speaking to them at the right time in the right way, parents can have productive conversations with teenagers even during the most the difficult times and with the most sensitive subjects.
Here are some tips to help having a serious discussion with your teenager:
Condense the Problem: Break the issue down into smaller components. Teens generally have an easier time finding solutions if they can process the problem in pieces.
Listen: Always listen carefully and never interrupt when a teen is talking to you. Once you start mentally preparing your reply, or making silent judgments, you have stopped listening— focus solely on their comments. Give them plenty of time to finish their thoughts before you reply.
Stagger Advice: Teenagers’ attention spans can be limited so present the information and advice in fragments, staggered over days or weeks. This allows them to process the information slowly, in their own time.
Location: Teenagers can be uncomfortable when other people are nearby or in an unfamiliar setting. Find a quiet place where they will not risk seeing a peer, teacher, or other family member.
Keep it Positive: Harsh judgments or scolding could result in your teen avoiding subsequent discussions with you. You can convey disappointment with their behaviour or decisions in a loving way.
Follow Up: Let your teen know you are available for follow-up discussions then let them come to you. If they do not come back to talk you again in a reasonable amount of time, bring the matter up once and gauge their reaction before deciding whether to pursue the subject.