Strategies For Communicating With Your Teen

dayne-topkin-78982-unsplashLet’s face it, having sex-related topics, including relationships, STDs and pregnancy with my tweens is always an uncomfortable topic for me. Ironic right, as my profession is indeed counseling to adolescents and their families.  But it is a positive parenting practice with hopes to have a positive factor when my girls’ have to make choices.  I still feel as though they are too young to be exposed to that stuff.  But I also know it’s 2018, times have changed and I’m nowhere near ready to be a grandmother or deal with other issues tied to young teens and sex!  So, no topic is beyond reproach.
“Morning Chats with Trenye” and “Table Talk” are two forms of communication I use with my twins throughout the week.  I established these forms of communication for several reasons.  But more importantly, to let the twins know they can feel comfortable talking with me about anything. I can remember the questions in my head around my pre-teen years and the resources I used for knowledge on different information, surely misinformed me on several occasions.  And of course, back then sex-related topics were not open for discussions. communication-2023438_640
Morning Chats with Trenye are our brief morning chats, typically while the twins are eating breakfast and I am sipping my coffee (I am not a breakfast person).  We generally talk about their plans for the day, stressors and a rundown of after-school activities.  Every morning I like to check-in with the twins to get a feel of their emotions.  I want to address any barriers that prevent them from giving their best throughout each day.
Table Talk was created for our heavy conversations.  Ideally, we have Table Talk while eating dinner. There may be times where I may not eat dinner with the twins, but I will always sit at the dinner table (that is our weekday routine). During this time, I have had the opportunity to learn so much about the twins, their peers, school drama and their insecurities.  Generally, I let the twins lead the topic of the night.  There have been times where I felt an important conversation needed to take place.  With my job, I hear, read and see a lot. More recently, I opened the discussion to sex-related topics, including sextortion. I always keep it real with my girls’.
I have found that when parents build a nonjudgement zone for their children, their children will connect and communicate openly.  The following are ways to connect and communicate with your teens (or any child).meeting-106591_640

  • When children feel a connection, they are more receptive to the lesson we want to teach.  Connecting with the teens means listening, being honest, sharing their experiences, being present, and guiding them through their experience.
  • Connecting with teens reinforces trust, empathy, healthy relationships, etc. therefore, helps them feel more secure, more skilled at making good decisions and interacting with their peers.
  • Connecting with teens deepens the relationship with them.  And in turn, both parties feel comfortable discussing heavy topics.
  • Communicate and don’t preach.  Open the dialogue for questions and to see what your teens know.
  • Model the behaviors you want your teen to exhibit.  Your own choices will serve as the foundation for your teen.
  • The conversation should be age appropriate, with facts. Don’t use scare tactics. Provide examples from real life experiences, social media, etc.

Parenting teenagers are one of the most challenging jobs ever!  Teens will push boundaries because they are learning to make positive or negative decisions about things, which results in real consequences.  Having a healthy relationship during the teenage years is more important than ever.  Be an active parent that uses positive parenting practices to engage in your teens life.
What tips have you used to engage with your children?  What are your daily routines to communicate with your child?
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52 thoughts on “Strategies For Communicating With Your Teen”

  1. We always encourage open and honest communication with our girls throughout their childhood years and even now as young women. We found that the time in the car when taking them to school or a sporting event and dinner times to be the best for all sorts of discussions.

    1. That’s awesome. While being a community therapist, I used the time in the car when I transported my clients. That seems to be the only time they were restricted to engage in conversations with me, lol.

  2. We’ve always encouraged our kids to be open with us. Sometimes it just feels like it’s not enough. We’ve been there before and we know kids will be kids. I just wonder if being open won’t always be enough sometimes.

    1. I definitely understand. Our oldest is 22 and we’re completely open. However, some of her choices aren’t what we agree with. But we’re thankful she shares with us. Sometimes life experience is the best experience. keep doing what you’re doing!

  3. These are great tips. I’ve worked with teens a lot over the years and most of the time they just want to know that someone can/will listen to them without judging them. Thank you for allowing your kids to have an open dialogue with you!

  4. Communication is so important when raising children into fine adults. Kudos to you mom for having these with your twins, so that they too can pass the tradition down to their kids! I’ll definitely remember these tips when I decide to start my own family 🙂

  5. That’s so wonderful that you dedicate so much valuable time talking to your girls. I think that is so needed for everyone at that age. I also couldn’t agree more with the nonjudgement zone, that’s something that I will absolutely apply once I have children, because I know how effective that would have been for me personally while in my teenage years. Thanks for sharing!
    -Madi xo

  6. This was right on time for me as I’m dealing with two teenagers and all of the emotions that come along with it. This has been the most challenging part of parenting for me, but I know we will overcome it.

    1. I also agree. I believe teen years are the most challenge. Because teens are stuck in between being children and young adults. Our oldest is 22 years old, so yes, you will overcome. Well wishes to you.

  7. I’m not a mother and fortunately I do not have to approach the adulterers, but I have to say that this a little baffles me … I’m only 30 and so I’m not a teenager anymore for too long, but there’s a generational GAP that has brought this current generation totally adrift. They are arid with emotions and curiosity …

    1. Yes yes….there is a huge gap. I remember when our oldest (22) was 13, we didn’t have these type of conversations at such an early age. Society has a way of making things move fast, rather we like it or not. Therefore, we have to go with the flow of things and be proactive.

  8. Communication is key to every relation. It can make or break everything. The key to effective communication is Listening.

  9. I can imagine this will come in useful for teen parents. I was a very ill teen and I was double hard to communicate with because of it, I look back and do worry how my parents coped.

  10. I absolutely love these talk ideas. I think it’s great. The morning ones before school aren’t too heavy and then when you have more time in the evenings, you have the more in-depth conversations. Thanks for the helpful tips.

  11. I don’t have children of my own yet but I always dreaded those awkward yet inevitable sex-related chats with my Mum! These days I am a lot more open with her, but when you’re a teen it can be difficult to open up about those kinds of things.

    1. It’s only as difficult as we (parents) make it. I worked with a lot of families who felt uncomfortable talking with their children about sex related topics, drugs, etc… as a therapist many of our family sessions would consist of me guiding the difficult conversations. Thanks for sharing.

  12. As a mom of girls this post really resonated with me. Although my girls are only 5 and 8, I’m making intentional space for us to have genuine conversations. You have given some amazing tips that I’ll be adding to my list. 💕

  13. Children will always communicate if there is a relationship between them and parents. Well, it’s something parents shoulc cultivate in kids right from the start in order to maintain a knit relationship with the kids.

    1. Yes I agree! But unfortunately many don’t, from my personal experience as a child. But also from my experience as a mental health therapist serving at risk adolescents and their families.

  14. I love that you’ve let the twins lead the topic each night. Give them leadership skills and it helps them to talk about what is most important to them! They aren’t being lectured, they are initiating!

  15. This is a great post. Teens can be especially challenging when it comes to parenting. Your tips are really great, that communication is key. All people just want to be heard and their feelings respected. Thanks for sharing!

  16. We seemed to have some of our best talks in the car. There were few (or no) interruptions, plus most of our trips were half an hour or more, since we live don’t live in town. You definitely have to all them opportunities and space to share.

  17. I love to my parents about my issues because as you said they created a judgment free zone where I can say what’s on my mind and how I’m feeling and the main reason I am able to talk to my parents so freely is one because of what it says in Job 10:1 “. I will speak out in my bitter distress!” And two because my parents always showed me they love me and care for me and are always there when I make mistakes and hold me tight when I can’t bare the stress of the world on my shoulders.

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