Communication is extremely important between people, especially with teenagers. They need to know you are there for them and that you care what they have to say. As a parent you also need to know what is going on in their life. Teenagers tend to be very independant and always out with their friend at sporting events, sleepovers or off in their room. It’s the job of a parent to be on top of everything their children are doing. Before communication can occur, you and your child must be together in the same room or location. You need to create opportunities for communication.
Finding time to communicate with your child isn’t as hard as you might think. There are several instances that are a good time to communicate with your child. For instance, if your teenager doesn’t drive yet, when you are driving in the car taking them to their friend’s house, a football game or a doctor’s appointment. Use this time wisely and open the lines to communicate with your child. Another suggestion is to get more involved in activities that your child is interested in. For example, help your child wash their car, go shopping with him them, take them out for ice cream or become involved in something that they enjoy doing. At night, tuck your child into bed and rub their back. They may find this relaxing and want to open up even more so.
Many activities can be used as a way to open up the lines of communication between you and your child. Try to provide as many opportunities as possible for you and your teenager to be together so you have the opportunity to communicate!
An important goal to keep in mind when communicating with teenagers should be to talk with your child without nagging at them. They will make mistakes (as everyone does) so stay calm when they do something wrong or need an attitude adjustment. If you start out talking with them instead of at them, they will be more likely to hear what you have to say and more open to communicate with you.
Communicate with a positive attitude when talking with your adolescent. Many times parents nag and lecture about what their kids are doing wrong and then communication diminishes. Try and talk about successes and accomplishments instead. Let them know you love them and are proud of them. In general, try to remember at the end of the day, you want to be sure you have spent more time talking to your child about their positive behaviors, attitudes, and activities than you have spent looking at negative behaviors. Adolescents who receive a more positive verbal attention and interaction than negative will want to talk more with their parents.
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