5 Tips when Talking to Teens - Survival Skills for Parents

As a mom of teen girls I have  had to develop some survival skills .  One of the most critical is how I communicate with them. With all...

As a mom of teen girls I have 
had to develop some survival skills
One of the most critical is how I communicate with them. With all of the physical, emotional and social changes that teens go through in adolescence it can be just as confusing and frustrating for a parent as it is for the teenager. In the younger ages your child wants to snuggle up to you...and be with you constantly. As a parent this can feel suffocating. At the threshold of the teen years this begins to change and sometimes conversations are reduced to "where are you going?", "see you later", "and no you can't do that"as they constantly pursue relationship with their peers and leave you in the dust.

So how does a parent get to know their teen?
How do you keep connected? Here a few tips that I have used and
 it may help you too.

1. Treat them like a peer. 
I do want to clarify this, yes you still have to be a parent and set boundaries and it is possible to do this AND become their friend. Ask their opinion. Ask about their goals and what they want to do in the future. A HUGE key to this is to not be critical. In this moment of conversation your teen just needs you to listen and be supportive.

2. Take time to get to know them. 
As a parent it is very easy to think that you know your teen and really why shouldn't you? You birthed them and have taken care of them for years. Yet there is something that happens in the middle school years between the ages of 11 - 13. Their likes and dislikes, friends and activities can change radically. It seems like it happens on the sly but really it is happening right in front of us. We need to be intentional about rediscovering who they are and take an interest in what is important to them.

3. Talk to them in non conflict. 
Being a parent of a teen sometimes you can find yourself only having conversations about and during conflict. Purpose to talk to them in non conflict. 

Some great times can be:
*in the car when you are driving somewhere, could be going to the store, going to school, dropping them off for an activity etc
*while you are doing something together,
 a chore, a project, ask them to help you with something such as baking 
or changing oil in the car
Having a dialogue when you are physically or mentally "side by side" working together is less confrontational and can set the tone for casual meaningful conversation. As the parent your teen will feel less on "the spot".

4. Text your teen. 
Go beyond basics of where they are, or when they are going to be home but have a conversation with them...this may seem strange because as a parent we can be so "old school" of how communication should be. 
But I say dive in and 
join the communication revolution. 
Don't get left behind.

5. Think before you speak.
This may seem obvious but the truth is when your youth is in their teen years not only do they say things that should never be said but as a parent you find yourself saying things you never thought you would say. 
Take a deep breath and consider this:

*Am I saying this because I am angry?
*Am I saying this because I am afraid?

Fear and anger are two communication killers and will only hurt your relationship not build it.

As a parent I have found often I am the one who needs a "time-out". I may need to get my thoughts and emotions together before I have a serious discussion with my teen. If I am just as explosive or emotional as the one I am attempting to have a conversation with I will sabotage my opportunity for effective communication.

The 3 teens God has given me....

Also remember that God gave you your teen. 
Although as a parent you may not feel confident in your abilities 
He is confident in you 
He is our helper

If you have questions or comments about teens and need some encouragement
 feel free to leave those in the comments below 
or email me at 

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Cindy Fincher: 5 Tips when Talking to Teens - Survival Skills for Parents
5 Tips when Talking to Teens - Survival Skills for Parents
Cindy Fincher
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