The teenager is one of the most puzzling animals on earth. Most do not share their thoughts, feelings, experiences, or plans willingly with their parents.especially when it comes to problems. Most people, adults as well as teens, are neither skilled nor practiced in these simple rules of effective communication:
- Use "I" statements
- Do not blame or judge
- Tell how you feel
- Tell what you need
With these rules in mind, here are some suggestions for how to put together the puzzle, solve a problem, get to know your teenager better, and have fun in the process.
* Make an appointment for a conversation. Find a time when you have time and won't be rushed. Together choose a place that's fun such as a restaurant, the park, the beach.
* Discuss the rules (above).
* Be the adult. Don't argue, blame, or get mad.
* Accept your teen's feelings. You cannot argue with feelings. Feelings are not right or wrong. They just are. Accepting them does not mean that you agree with them. If your teen feels tired, pressured or cornered, they may become defensive. Stay calm. Be a role model for the conversation.
* Find out what they think they need to solve the problem.
* Share what you are feeling and what you need in the situation. Come to an agreement, compromise, or solution.
* Communicate respect to your teen. Show you value them by listening.
* Respond with care to sensitive subjects.
* Give truthful answers to their questions. Answer them in an age appropriate manner. Answer their questions; don't offer other information that they don't need.
* Always end on a good note, even if you don't agree and don't reach a solution.
* Remember that sometimes if their safety is at stake or if your established family rules are being compromised, you can play the Parent Card. You are in charge. Sometimes, if all else fails, your answer has to be "Because I'm the mom/dad and I say so!"