How to Connect and Communicate with Your Teen

by Jan 26, 2019Communication, Parenting, Teenagers

How to Connect and Communicate with Your Teen

Feeling Shut Out?

Did you ever wonder why so many movies and TV shows feature sullen and uncommunicative teen characters? It is called art imitating life. Teenagers are often as tricky as you imagine they are. But why is this true and how can we navigate it?

6 Ways to Connect and Communicate with Your Teen

Raising a child is a journey filled with challenges. But when that child becomes a young adult with her or his own worldview, it is time to challenge yourself.

1. Learn to Plan in Advance

When your children are young, you can walk into their rooms and start a conversation. Let’s just say those days are over. Whether it is spoken or not, your teen will appreciate the respect of having input into when a conversation will happen.

2. Practice Patience

Shortcuts do not exist to not feeling shut out. Keep in mind, losing your patience is a giant step towards losing the struggle. It is not fair but this situation is not about fairness. It is about compromise and connection.

3. Somehow, Someway, Do Not Take Everything Personally

This is easily the toughest step. Your very own child will likely say and do some very rude things. It is human nature to feel hurt and consider responding in kind. But personalizing every word or shrug makes it far more difficult to maintain balance and perspective.

4. Learn the Value of Time and Space

Sometimes you have to step away. Time and space can be your friends. Resolutions may occur quickly in pop culture. In real life, it takes steady work performed in a productive manner.

5. Become Well-Versed in Social Media

Today’s teenagers live in an entirely different social context. Become fluent in their language. You may or may not like social media but it is here to stay and plays a major role in your child’s life.

6. Remember Your Own Journey

Whether you hung out on Facebook or the local schoolyard, you were once in a similar state of mind. Do not lose sight of what it is like for someone your child’s age. This is not to say you excuse the inexcusable. Rather, it is about empathy.

Consult an Expert

Frequently, there comes a point when you and your teen child stop “hearing” each other. You both want something to change. You both want fresh perspectives. But, let’s face it, you need a new messenger. You also may need a mediator. That’s where a counselor is best-suited to enter the picture. The option may be individual therapy. Or, you may choose to do sessions together with your child. It could be a blend of both. Whatever you choose, the idea is to get some outside help in the name of breaking an impasse.

Your teenager needs to hear a new voice. And perhaps, a new message. You need a sense of progress, of having a plan. Don’t get caught in a staring contest. The goal is healthy communication and that often cannot happen without input from an unbiased guide.