Communication works both ways. It does not mean only talking but also listening. This becomes especially important when you communicate with your teenager.
Here are some tips on what would be the best way to communicate with your teens:
- Do not always be alarmed by what your child is trying to tell you. This would scare them and prevent them from speaking out their mind openly to you.
- When your child approaches you with concerns or problems, be calm, patient and rational. If you overreact, the next time they would not approach you.
- The most important thing is to avoid lecturing is your teenager. A lecture usually condescends or seems hostile. If you deliver your message clearly and with wisdom, you have a higher chance of the adolescents following your message.
- Do not give them a list of all the things that they should do. Instead see if you can help them arrive at the various options that are available to them. Then allow them to make their own choice.
- Do not criticize their friends even if they have had a row with them. Teenager’s quarrels last for a very short period of time and once they make up, it would be you who would be sailing in the wrong boat.
- It is very important for you to listen to your teenager without any judgements when they speak to you. Don’t react with statements like, “How can you do that?”, “You are too young for that,” et cetera. Listen patiently without judging them and without forcing your opinion on them.
- When your teenager is speaking to you, give them your complete attention. Your eyes should not be fixed on the television, you should not be fidgeting with your mobile phone or reading the newspaper when your adolescent is communicating with you. If you continue doing such things, your teenager would exhibit the very same behaviour when you try speaking to her.
- Do not catastrophize when they come to you with their concerns. You will make it sound worse than what it already is. This would only lead to panic and confusion for them. Be the calm and confident rock that they can come to in case of any difficulty.
- Communicating with your teenager does not need to happen only when there is a difficulty or when you have to impart a lesson on some moral values. The communication channel between you and your teenager needs to be open always. Have conversations every day with them and ask them about school, friends, parties, and their opinions on politics, government, education system and other things. It is conversations like these that shape their character and moral value system.
The best way to communicate with your teens is to make sure that you have some weekly ritual that you and your teenager can look forward to. It need not be a fancy dinner or an expensive mall shopping. It can be a simple ice cream shared at the kitchen table every Tuesday night. To make the atmosphere calm and serene and to have a focused conversation, you need to make sure that there are no disturbances like ringing phones and blaring television while you enjoy this one to one time with your teenager.