Parenting Guide

How to Start Communicating Effectively with Your Teenage Child

Published by SchoolAdvisor on Aug 28, 2020, 07:47 AM

How to start communicating effectively with your teenage child

 A mother and daughter having a conversation at a coffee shop. ( Unsplash pic)

At some point, all parents would have been at the stage in life where their teenagers in high school go through puberty and start not wanting to talk to their parents. Parents would be the last people teenagers would go to, to talk about daily issues.

However, when it comes to parenting, you would want to know what is going on with your children’s lives. It will be challenging for a teen to consider you her best friend, but having a healthy relationship with your child is possible. Here are some ways you can start communicating effectively with your teenage child:  

1. Have regular meals together

Children always try to find the right time to talk to their parents – whether it’s asking permission to go somewhere or talking about a grade they got in a test. Dinner time is usually the best time as everybody is sitting down and doing nothing but eating. Conversations during meals are a good opportunity for parents to check in on their children.

It is important not to force your child to talk. Pressuring her to do so will likely only make her avoid talking all the more. One helpful rule to enforce is to ban the use of mobile phones at the dining table. With social media and networking apps at the tip of her fingers, smartphones would only distract your child.

2. Safe spaces 

Create a safe space for your children to communicate with you. Assure them that they can come and talk to you about anything.

As a parent, you must listen to their problems without judgment or criticism. Sometimes, your children just need somebody to listen to their problems, without the fear of being ridiculed or made fun of.

3. Be observant

The teenage years are when emotions are at an all-time high. Hormones greatly affect mood swings – this could mean that your teenager could be laughing one second and crying in her room at the next.

Parents must be observant of their child’s mood changes. If you noticed your child who used to be happy and perky when she came back from school, but now comes home with a sad look on her face, you need to ask her what’s wrong and offer her your support.

4. Share something

“You won’t understand.” These are three words that many parents would be familiar with and it may be something you have heard yourself as well. The main reason these words are uttered is because your child finds it difficult for you to relate to her.

Teenagers feel that you as a parent can never understand the challenges and struggles they’re going through. It’s time to prove them wrong by sharing your teenage stories with your children. Share the troubles you went through during school or anything about your teenage years and how you managed to overcome them.

This could tear down a barrier between you and your child. Knowing that her parents have gone through similar issues will encourage your child to be more willing to share her problems with you.   

5. They don’t want a lecture  

Nobody likes to be nagged or made to listen to a lecture, no matter how serious a topic may be. It is crucial, then, to be conscious about how and when you decide to approach certain topics.

It is a common qualm of teenagers to feel that parental lectures may arise at almost any time or that random daily events can be suddenly turned into moments for life lessons. Hence, it is best to set a dedicated time to discuss any issues with your teenager.

The next time you find yourself struggling to get your teenage child to talk to you, try out some of these helpful tips. And always remember that patience is key.

Schooladvisor.my provides information on private and international schools, extra-curricular activities as well as other education-related topics in Malaysia.

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