Monday, May 18, 2009

Tips for talking to your teenager

How does a parent -- especially a step parent, or a divorced mom or dad who has to do their parenting long-distance -- keep the lines of communication open? Especially during those teenage years, when your kid is likely to go from non-stop talker to nearly silent? We're sharing ideas at the Child Caring blog, but here are a few tips to try:

Keep talking, about everything. You don't need to limit your discussions with your teen to the Big Issues -- sex, drugs, smoking, money, etc. Talk to your teens about your interests and theirs, and keep talking -- more likely than not, they actually are listening.

Watch your non-verbal language. Denise Witmer at suggests five
non-verbal communication cues
that you can consider using when talking with your teen (maintaining eye contact, for example, and keeping an upbeat tone of voice).

Ask open-ended questions. They can't be answered with a simple "yes" or "no," and they show that you're actually interested in the details.

Be respectful. We often tell kids obey the golden rule and treat people as they'd like to be treated themselves, but how often do we extend that same courtesy to teenagers? It's easy to judge or to dismiss what they have to say, but model respect when talking to them, and you'll find that they're more likely do so as well.

Choose your battles wisely. Ask yourself, "Is there really a 'right' or 'wrong' here, or just a 'like' vs. 'don't like'?"

Read the rest at Child Caring.

No comments: