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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~Tren

52 Comments

  1. Lisa (@lisadesignslife)

    December 19, 2018 at 12:44 PM

    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. Trenye B.

      December 25, 2018 at 11:46 AM

      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. Brittany

    December 19, 2018 at 6:50 PM

    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. Trenye B.

      December 25, 2018 at 11:48 AM

      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. learningtobefreebriana

    December 19, 2018 at 7:41 PM

    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!

    1. Trenye B.

      December 25, 2018 at 11:49 AM

      That is so true. I have worked with at risk teens for the past few years. They just want to be heard.

  4. Shay

    December 19, 2018 at 7:48 PM

    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. everydaywithmadirae

    December 19, 2018 at 10:40 PM

    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
    http://www.everydaywithmadirae.com

  6. iiamjones

    December 20, 2018 at 8:33 AM

    Open communication is something we have to start early! Although I don’t have kids but I will definitely keep these in mind when that time comes.

    1. Trenye B.

      December 25, 2018 at 1:28 PM

      Absolutely, in any relationship.

  7. iheartnelle

    December 20, 2018 at 9:03 AM

    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. Trenye B.

      December 25, 2018 at 1:31 PM

      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.

  8. Keshia Richmond

    December 20, 2018 at 10:07 PM

    Great advise for all ages. Communication is so important many could use this refresher.

  9. Cristina Petrini

    December 21, 2018 at 3:59 AM

    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. Trenye B.

      December 25, 2018 at 1:35 PM

      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.

  10. Sudipta Dev Chakraborti

    December 21, 2018 at 5:13 AM

    I am not a parent, but can relate to your post completely. I do agree with you, communication is the key, particularly when it comes to young adults. Your post will help many parents.

  11. Ankita Magdani

    December 21, 2018 at 9:34 AM

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

  12. The Coffee Mom (@Jessi_Sullivan)

    December 21, 2018 at 11:04 AM

    My kids are still young, but I have teen nieces and nephews and this is all so right on! Teens can be hard to talk to, but I found it helpful trying to remember what I was like as a teen.

    1. Trenye B.

      December 25, 2018 at 1:36 PM

      Yes. Using our experiences (good or bad) is helpful.

  13. Tara Pittman (@momknowsbest15)

    December 21, 2018 at 11:27 AM

    Having dinner together as a family is so important. I too so enjoy the discussions that happen around the table.

  14. knockingonfortysdoor

    December 21, 2018 at 3:46 PM

    These are all great strategies and you do an amazing job explaining them clearly. I have wary elementary age children but want to start using these now so I’m ready for the teen years!

  15. Sarah Bailey

    December 21, 2018 at 5:15 PM

    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.

    1. Trenye B.

      December 25, 2018 at 1:38 PM

      Thanks for sharing. Parents do an awesome job figuring out at works for their family. And eliminating what doesn’t.

  16. Hannah Marie

    December 22, 2018 at 9:11 AM

    Table talks are proven very effective. Not only to teens but for all ages. I find this article really informative.

  17. leah

    December 22, 2018 at 1:23 PM

    I have a 4 and 2 year old but bookmarking this for later!

  18. Rachel

    December 22, 2018 at 4:32 PM

    I am about to venture into the teenage years. I can’t believe how many tricky conversation topics are up ahead.

  19. growingupglad

    December 22, 2018 at 5:00 PM

    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.

  20. TheSuperMomLife

    December 22, 2018 at 6:15 PM

    My oldest turned 13 this year and it’s definitely been a challenge. We are learning together, each day.

    1. Trenye B.

      December 25, 2018 at 1:45 PM

      I think learning together is the key to great relationships.

  21. kacielmorgan

    December 22, 2018 at 8:21 PM

    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. Trenye B.

      December 25, 2018 at 1:49 PM

      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.

  22. NeShama Bonneau

    December 23, 2018 at 12:24 AM

    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. 💕

    1. Trenye B.

      December 25, 2018 at 1:51 PM

      I am glad you found it helpful. Thanks for visiting.

  23. Dalene Ekirapa

    December 24, 2018 at 4:55 AM

    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. Trenye B.

      December 25, 2018 at 1:56 PM

      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.

  24. Amy Smith

    December 24, 2018 at 10:33 AM

    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!

    1. Trenye B.

      December 25, 2018 at 1:57 PM

      Absolutely! Thanks for visiting.

  25. Nicole

    December 26, 2018 at 1:37 PM

    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!

    1. Tren B.

      December 27, 2018 at 4:07 PM

      So true,, Being heard is one step closer to building a relationship .

  26. tcleland88

    December 26, 2018 at 4:10 PM

    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.

    1. Tren B.

      December 27, 2018 at 4:08 PM

      Ha! I agree. I used the car when I worked in the community as a therapist. Transporting my clients to their home or to school was the prefect opportunity.

  27. Wedding Invitation Blogger

    December 26, 2018 at 5:38 PM

    I agree that it is important to establish dinner time with your children. We always had dinner together when I was growing up.

  28. Ashley

    December 26, 2018 at 9:01 PM

    My little guy is just 10 months, so I will be saving you as a resource for the future…this stuff scares me so much!

    1. Tren B.

      December 27, 2018 at 4:09 PM

      You’ll learn along they way. Life teaches you in increments. You’re going to do wonderful.

  29. The Sprouting Minds

    December 27, 2018 at 10:57 AM

    These are some great tips! I find the communication with my 7 year old daughter is already tricky…I can only imagine the teen years!

  30. wisechapchapa

    January 2, 2019 at 9:43 PM

    Wow my mom probably should’ve read this before I learned everything through public school. 🙂

    1. Tren B.

      January 3, 2019 at 11:08 PM

      Lol, yeah especially in today’s time. It’s either the parents will teach it (the correct way), or their friends will.

  31. gabrielv19

    January 22, 2019 at 6:42 AM

    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.

    1. Tren B.

      January 22, 2019 at 6:18 PM

      It seems like you have supportive and caring parents. Active parenting can make a world of a difference

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