When parenting teenagers, the closeness of your relationship with your teen depends on one key skill – effective communications. I’m not talking? about how well you as a parent can lecture your teen – on the contrary. Good communication skills are a two-way street – that means the parent must also listen effectively as well as talk.
Effective Ways for Parenting Teenagers
Teenagers are notorious for their distinct lack of outward communication with their parents. While not all teens share this trait, it can be difficult to get the quiet ones to “play the game.”?
As a parent of a teen myself, I’ve learned three useful techniques that have helped me build a closer relationship with my teenager. Maybe, one or more of these tips can help you get closer to your teenager. Parenting style is important for a close relationship.
Be An Active Listener to Parenting Teenagers
This may be one of the most difficult tasks in the building? effective communications with your teenager. One way that I’ve learned that doesn’t work is to play “20 questions.”
You definitely do not want to sound like a grand inquisitor – or like a lawyer who is grilling a witness, trying to squeeze out the facts.
Active listening consists of paraphrasing, the reflection of feeling, the reflection of thinking, summarization, clarification and attentive behavior when parents listen to their children then this listening strategy needs to apply.
Rather, you may want to treat the situation as just casual chit-chat – to start. Success might not always be realized using this technique, but I’ve learned that most teenagers really do want to communicate with their parents, but on their own level and on their own terms.
The more the parent is interested in a particular subject, the less the teen is willing to reveal. You must act casual and be mostly uninterested while you build rapport with your teen.
As your teen becomes more comfortable with the situation, the more he or she will reveal – sometimes in parts or as a whole. This is where your listening skills come into play. Learn to pick up on bits and pieces of information, as this may be all you get.
Do not be judgmental, keep your ears open, and you’ll be amazed at what you can learn.
Give Your Full Attention
Most of the teenager wants to get attention from parents and others. When families these days are so busy with jobs, school, sports, and a hundred other distractions, parents tend to try and “multi-task” with their teenagers. This tends to discourage effective communications, and may drive the teen farther away from his or her parents.
I’ve learned that if I want my teenager’s full attention, I must be willing to give the same as well.
Turn off the tv, shut down your computer or close that book, and make it known that the time you spend with your teenager is theirs and theirs alone.
You shouldn’t be distracted by countless other details – remember what I said above about listening? Your teen may communicate in snippets, and if you’re on the phone with your boss, or seeing who is the next American Idol, you just might miss the most important bit of information that was offered up all week!
Try to Find The Positive
How can you expect to build a closer relationship with your teenager if every other sentence you utter is a criticism? Certainly, when parenting teenagers, negatives can be easier to notice than positives – messy rooms, sloppy clothes, etc.
I know – these negatives stand out like a sore thumb – especially when I find myself tripping over my daughter’s shoes day and night! Or, when I find dirty dishes and glasses all over the house!
But, I have learned to temper my words, and instead of griping about the bad, I reward the good. I’ll bet that there is something you can compliment your teenager about each day – not an empty, gratuitous remark, but one that is earned and deserved.
This may take some time, but in my case, my teenager has shifted her behavior in certain areas over time with this technique – she has cleaned her room (without being asked) and has done others? things to make me believe this technique really has benefits. And, I don’t sound like a nag, although I have had to bite my tongue many times.
When parenting teenagers, working towards a closer relationship with your teen can be a simple and rewarding process. Just remember to be patient and learn to be a good listener – and remember that you were once in their shoes as a teenager yourself!