Resources for parents of at-risk and troubled teens.



January 2011

Talking and Listening to Your Teen

by Staff, on at risk youth, conversation with a teenager, listening to teenagers, listening to your teen, talking to your teen, talking with teenagers, talking with teens

Talking to your teens can be hard. What makes it even harder is that most parents talk to their children but don’t listen to what they have to say. This is communication one on one, you need to treat your teens in conversation the same way you would treat another adult, with respect, you need to talk and speak your mind, but only after listening to their side of the story and trying to understand them, that is the only way to communicate with your teens.

In most cases you will be the one that has to start the conversation; teens will rarely come to you. But don’t start your conversation with a point, start your conversation with a question about them, how they are, how was their day, how was school etc…

Once you ask the question, listen. Listen to what your teens have to say. When we listen our teens relax and they are more likely to start talking to use freely. Listening to our teens will show them that we can be supportive when there is a problem and they are more likely to come to us in the future for help.

If you are not sure how to actually talk to your teen here are a few examples and guidelines that will help you. Ask your teens simple questions, but avoid the ones that can be replied with a yes or no. Before you start with your thoughts on any subject let your teen finish and listen to what he has to say, then think about it and then you can speak, once you have thought about it of course.

Don’t blow off your teen when you are doing something and he wants to talk, stop for a second and listen. But don’t just pretend to listen, give your child the full attention he deserves. When you go to talk to them you should mix it up, don’t just talk to them when you think something is wrong, talk to them in good times as well. The most important thing is to let your teens feel safe when they talk to you, don’t overreact, don’t blame them, don’t yell at them when they tell the truth even if you don’t like it, talk in a calm manner at all times.

Consider their feelings and their side of the story and you can build a relationship from that. Always listen to your teens, that is the only way to know how they truly feel. Listening to your teens has more impact on them than what you have to say, that will help you build your relationship properly. You have to let your teens know that they can come to you for whatever without you being all judgmental, that is the only way to make your teens open up and create a healthy relationship. Staff