You’ve lived through 3 AM feedings, terrible-two tantrums, and the apprehensions of starting school. So why is the word “teenager” causing you so much anxiety?
All Pro Dad has recently launched a billboard campaign to provide tips on family-oriented subjects such as ways to spend time with your kids or how to monitor their iPods. We would like to share All Pro Dad’s tips on how to effectively communicate with your teenager.
Creating and maintaining an open and honest relationship with your teenager is all about communication. All Pro Dad shares, “Communication is about the art of establishing common ground, a purposeful activity that involves balance, giving and receiving, talking and listening, receptivity and an open heart.” In other words, do not talk to your teen, talk with your teen. At times, you may not agree or even understand where your teenager is coming from, but the important thing is to keep that line of communication open at all times.
There are many different activities to engage your teen and assist in fostering an open and honest relationship:
- Schedule regular family mealtimes: Communication is an art form that requires skills, modeling, practice, regularity and a predictable context. Schedule family dinners together a minimum of 3 times a week. No TV, no phones, no computers, no iPods (get the picture?). Come prepared with “conversation-starter” questions. Make sure your questions are “open-ended.” Model active listening. This is not the time to judge. Be prepared to converse about what interests your teens. Do not judge content. This is about communication, not your agenda!
- Get busy and be productive with your teen: Work on the car together and – while you’re at it – ask open-ended questions, then listen. Let your teen drive you places – while you listen. Teach them all you know about woodwork and teach them how to cook – and meanwhile keep your ears open. Take a road trip to your hometown – all the time sharing your stories. Ask for help with something your teen is good at – then graciously let them take the lead.
- Take your teen out on a date: This is hugely valuable on many levels. A date is an opportunity to be generous, to show interest in what’s important to your teen, and to give the gift of uninterrupted time. Take your son or daughter to dinner and then do something fun you know they’ll enjoy. Teens often believe parents have no interest in their lives. This is a chance to set the record straight. But be sure the date is uninterrupted. Turn your phone off and listen with your eyes as well as your ears. And remember, knowing your teen is far more important than trying to change them. The bottom line here is about understanding what it means to communicate. If you give any hint that you don’t really want to know, then your teen certainly won’t tell you. So listen already, and listen respectfully. You just might get to know your teen after all.
To read the original article by All Pro Dad, click here.
The Men’s Divorce Law Firm believes in the importance of being an involved parent with your children. In order for children to grow to have successful lives as adults, they need to feel security and love from their parents. Talk with your children, make time from them and always be there to listen.
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