Three Steps to Communicate with Your Tween or Teen

One of the most basic steps we work on as a family in therapy is communication. The benefits of being able to talk and grow as a family serve as a model for future relationships. By modeling communication skills parents can teach children and teens how to talk about feelings, opinions and more personal topics. 

1. Listen: Learning to listen is difficult for most people. We tend to assume we know what the other person is going to say and we jump to conclusions in our head. Learning to be present oriented and just simply listen is a skill that will take practice. 

2. Be positive: Do not attack, yell or lose your temper. This will get you nowhere fast. Talk calmly, with positive words and do not lose your temper. This will make your child or teen more responsive and help motivate them to listen to you. 

3. Do not try and solve: Many parents want to tell their children or teens what to do. This is a strategy that is bound to fail. Think about it, do you like being told what to do? They don't either! Try to not solve problems but learn to understand what your child or teen is saying (unless it is an emergency.) 

Please use the steps above to create a loving home with respect and positive communication. This will encourage your child or teen to want to talk to you about more personal topics.