Promoting Two-Way Talk between You and Your Teen
Communicating with your teen doesn't have to be a no-win (or no-talk) situation. But it does take work—both on your part and on your teen's part. These tips are effective and useful for both you and your teen when it comes to clear conversation and open communication.
Choose your time wisely: Don't try to start a serious conversation when the person you plan to talk to is obviously 1) cranky, 2) stressed out, 3) busy doing something else or 4) sleeping.
Be respectful: People will be much more willing to hear you out if they don't feel like they're being attacked or ridiculed.
Speak precisely and concisely: Say what you mean and don't take forever to say it.
When you approach someone with a problem, come prepared with suggestions for solving it: Why should they do all the work? (Make sure that you present these as suggestions, not demands.)
Make a genuine effort to see their point of view: Put yourself in their shoes. Try to empathize with them. You're not the only person with an opinion, a brain or feelings.
Watch your body language: Glaring, turning your back, slouching, shaking a fist, pointing a finger, sneering, gagging and rolling your eyes are not recommended.
Keep your voice down, please: Nobody likes to be yelled at.
Avoid "you statements": "You don't understand me" or "You never listen to me" don't help to get your point across. Instead, use "I statements"—like "I guess I haven't done a very good job of explaining myself to you" or "I feel like you don't trust me to make decisions about what's most important to do in school."
Pay attention: You'll be more effective if you look at the other person (not at the wall or out the window) while they're speaking.
Be willing to compromise: Give a little and you might get a lot.