Welcome back to the series on communicating with your teen. This week I will cover another important thing to keep in mind when trying to keep the lines of communication open with your teenager. Remember what it was like when you were 13 or 14 years old and mom or dad told you, "Don't worry about it, you won't even remember this in 5 years anyway" or something along those lines?
While parents may mean well when they say something like this, and quite often they are exactly right, teens interpret this kind of thing differently. Mom and dad "just don't get it" or "they don't understand" are common reactions on the part of the teen. Many of you probably remember feeling that way yourself when you were a teenager. Yet we so often repeat our parent's mistakes now that the shoe is on the other foot and we are parents ourselves. Be sure to listen and let your teen know that you are "hearing" what they are saying. Don't simply brush over what seems like an insignificant problem to you if your teen comes to you or opens up about something that is on his or her mind. If the problem is important enough that your teen comes to you for advice or just to "vent," remember to keep an open mind and never minimize what may be an important issue at that time in their life.
Check back in a week or so for the last post in this series.