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How Do I Talk to My Teen?

Communicating with teenagers can be difficult. Here are some tips to help parents talk to their teens.

Communicating with teenagers can be difficult. As a parent, you may want your teenage son or daughter to open up to you about important details in his or her life, but they may not be willing. In order to facilitate healthy communication with your teen and encourage them to talk to you, you must continuously foster the relationship and build a solid foundation over time. Here are some tips to help you and your co-parent talk to your teen: 

Father talking with teenage son
Let your teenager know you’re there for them 

You and your co-parent should spend time with your teen regularly. Just like all relationships, putting time into your relationship with your teen is a must if you want to foster healthy communication. This shows that you’re there for your teen and ready to talk when they are. Only taking time to do things with your teen when you want to approach them about something will put them on guard and prevent them from opening up. 

Show your teenager you trust them 

Building a trusting relationship with your teen is a must for healthy communication. You and your co-parent need to show your teen that you trust and respect them. This will help your teen trust and respect you in return. You can build trust with your teen by giving them new freedoms incrementally, asking them to take on additional responsibilities, and letting them know you believe in them. You should also avoid lecturing or interrupting your teen, as these actions could cause them to feel belittled. Once you have built a trusting relationship with your teen, communication will come much easier on both sides.  

Don’t take everything your teenager says personally

Sometimes, teens say things they don’t mean. You and your co-parent must remember that your teen is going through a lot of rapid changes, both physically and emotionally, and this can cause them to lash out. In these moments, it’s important to treat your teen with care and respect and show them that they won’t be able to push you away. This will encourage your teen to open up to you at their most challenging and vulnerable moments, facilitating important conversations between the two of you.   

Teenage son talking to mother
Validate your teenager’s feelings

Your teen needs to know that you not only care about their feelings, but you understand them. You and your co-parent can let your child know that their feelings are valid by listening, being careful not to downplay the situation, and empathizing with them. If your teen feels like you understand what they’re going through, they’ll be more likely to talk to you and open up about important subjects.  

Set a good example for your teenager

Remember, kids learn from their parents. Your teen is watching, observing, and learning from everything you and your co-parent do. You are both role models for your teen, and you can convey many of the lessons you want them to learn by walking the walk, rather than talking the talk. Learn more about Communicating with Your Kids Effectively

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