The teenage years are often a rough period for both parents and teens. Parents often get the feeling that no matter what they say, their teenager is not listening or doesn't care what mom or dad has to say to begin with. From the teen's perspective, mom and dad are being to overbearing or trying to pry into their personal business and they (mom or dad) just "don't get it."
So, how can a parent work on improving open communication with their teenager? Effective communication with teens starts with effective listening. Parents sometimes have a tendency to talk more than they listen, especially when they feel their teenager is making a bad decision. But this tendency to lecture only creates conflict and makes it more unlikely that your teenager will feel comfortable talking to you about something important in the future. Be sure to listen to what they have to say in a nonjudgmental way. No matter how much you disagree, start by letting the teen openly express what he or she has to say before thoughtfully responding.
Another good recommendation is to pick at least one meal each day to sit down and eat as a family. This gives families an opportunity to talk about the day's events or anything else that's on their minds. If meal time absolutely does not work due to scheduling issues, try to pick a specific time of the day, each day to talk to your teenager. Mealtimes are often the easiest but finding the time whenever you can is the most important thing.
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