Raising teenagers is a challenge. Actually, being a teenager is a challenge. But there are many things you can do as a parent that can help make it a lot easier for your teen and for you.
Listening is one of the most important parenting skills you can have or can develop. Parents who listen to their children usually have children who talk to them. This only works if parents truly listen and don’t talk more than their child talks. Some hints may help you have a better talk.
• BE CONSIDERATE: If this isn’t a good time to talk, tell him. Don’t just partly listen; he can tell.
• BE HONEST: If you are uncomfortable talking about a subject or you don’t know the answer, tell him.
You can always ask to continue the discussion later.
• DON’T INTERRUPT: Don’t break in when he is talking and don’t finish what he is saying. Let him talk for himself.
• ENCOURAGE TALKING: Let him know you are listening by making comments like “Then what happened,” or “That’s great.”
• BE COURTEOUS: Don’t get angry or humiliate your child. This is no time to correct language or even give advice unless he asks for it. He needs your respect just as you need his.
• LET HIM KNOW YOU HEARD HIM: Even if you disagree, let him hear that you heard and understand. If you didn’t understand, ask questions. That also says you are listening.
• MAKE TALKING TOGETHER A HABIT: If this conversation goes well, you can be sure there are more to come.
Remember, the less you talk and the more you listen, the more your child will listen to you and the more he will hear what you are saying when you do talk. Learning to talk together takes time.