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Effective Communication with Your Teenager - Part 1Posted Tuesday, October 25, 2011, at 8:43 AM
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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Shannon is a licensed professional counselor and a national certified counselor and owner and clinical director of Tender Hearts Child Therapy Center in Cape Girardeau. He and several therapists at the center specialize in treating child and adolescent mental health issues in Southeast Missouri and work with parents using family therapy to develop parenting/discipline skills to deal with misbehavior and defiance. In his blog Shannon provides education on children's mental health topics and uses a question-and-answer forum for local parents to ask questions related to his field. Shannon can be reached at email@example.com.