Many parents are at fault for ruining communication with their teenagers. As hard as that is to accept, it’s true. The good news is that there are ways to re-open up the lines of communication with your teen. The following discusses how the communication was ruined, probably unbeknownst to you, and how to get your teen talking again.
How Communication Is Ruined
When children are young, they turn to their parents for everything. As they grow up, they try to be more independent, but at times, they aren’t quite sure what to do in a situation. They turn to their parents for help, but when parents overreact to what they have to say, they often feel bad for bringing the topic up for discussion. This makes them regret saying anything, and over time, they simply learn from it and stop talking. Many times, teens will find other outlets that won’t get as big of a reaction, such as their friends. The problem is that when teens turn to peers who are bad influences, they can end up making bad decisions.
In addition, when parents try to come back and welcome communication, their teens are already getting the support from someone else, so they don’t feel they need to talk to their parents anymore. This is where the communication problems start. Parents struggle to get teenagers to talk, but they don’t want or need to anymore.
Re-Opening the Lines of Community with Your Teen
It’s important for teens to re-establish trust in their parents. Parents can start with being genuinely interested in the teenager’s life by asking questions and actively listening to the answers. This means nodding, smiling, and responding appropriately.
Don’t ask for too much at one time. A brief conversation that doesn’t end in, “I can’t believe you did that!” or something similar, is one step close to better communication. Each day, make an attempt to have a good conversation with your teen starting with questions and then responding in a calm, thoughtful way. If you don’t agree with something, do not overreact. Many times, you can ask questions to help your teen come to different conclusions in a situation. For instance, “What do you think about that?” or “Do you think that’s a good idea?”
It’s going to take some time before your teenager will open up completely and trust that you won’t overreact to something he or she says or does. Just try to remain calm and open to your teen, and in time, he or she may start to see that you’re the best person to turn to when life gets tough.
Follow this blog for more information on communicating with your teen, even after it’s been ruined. If you’ve tried to help your teen without success, consider one of the programs we have available for troubled teens. We help teenagers structure their life, so they can be proud and productive members of society. Contact us now.