Get Better At Communicating With Your Teenager

Get Better At Communicating With Your Teenager

Get Better At Communicating With Your Teenager

I hear it all the time, “Oh they are just teenagers, that is how they are. Don’t you remember how you were at that age?” 

I do remember how I was at that age and right about now, I don’t know how my parents got through it.

While it might seem that I can’t stop getting my kids to play some pretty tough Self Defeating Games I have managed to find a few tools that are helping me to get better at communicating with my teenagers.

 Get Better Tool #1

The first step that I had to take in order to Get Better at communicating with my teenager was to realize that Disagreement Does Not Equal Rejection. At first this concept might be difficult to grasp.

Teenagers can become so defiant that it feels like every engagement leads to rejection. I am a pretty simple guy and I readily admit that this defiant behaviour gets my mercury rising very quickly but when you take a look at the science behind brain development at this important stage of their lives, it becomes a little easier to sympathize with where they are at.

Advancements in brain study now explain that much larger brain development is occurring in teenage years than was first thought. Check out this Ted Talk Video, it helped me understand why we disagree on almost Everything!  

Get Better Tool #2

If you want to develop better communication skills period, not just with your teenager, you need to understand that You Teach People How To Treat You. 

This becomes very difficult when you get caught up in the moment and frustration of how your teenager might be treating you. You might say, I didn’t teach them that and maybe you didn’t.

When I take a, deeper than on the surface, look at how I treat my teenagers, I have to admit to myself that I engage in the drama far too often. As soon as I do this, I give away all the power and in fact am teaching my children that it is OK to talk to me in a heated, confrontational manner. Frustration always sides with emotion.

Get Better At Communicating With Your Teenager

I am reminded of an excerpt from the book, “How To Win Friends & Influence People” where he talks about how one creature always knows how to make friends.

Every you time that you see him, he is so excited that he can barely contain himself. He always has a smile and is eager to see you. His greeting is always filled with unconditional love and he will hang out with you all day just to be around you if you let him.

Of course, he was talking about a dog and how easily they make friends but the secret works for humas too. When we are excited to see, greet, interact and be around others, we teach them how to treat us and they want to reciprocate in the same manner.

Granted, the teenage years seem to get a little more difficult, but I believe if we as adults stay true to this tool and continue to take the higher road, teaching this mantra somehow becomes ingrained in their subconscious and in time will become their default behaviour too. That’s what I am going to choose to believe anyways, let me know what you think in the comments below.

 

 Get Better Tool #3

I Acknowledge Your Position … This Is My Position is a tool that works well to defuse frustrated conversations. The power in this tool is that it allows your teenager to exercise these new brain developments and feel the satisfaction of being acknowledged in forming their own opinions as they struggle to define their own identity in the world. By being a great listener and letting them express their opinion, even if it is through a disagreement you are teaching them how to treat you while still affirming that you do not agree with their position.Get Better At Communicating With Your Teenager

The best way to put this tool to work in your home, is to have a conversation about it. Sit down with the family and explain that in the future, we have a disagreement we are going to have a conversation about it instead of an argument. If during or at the conclusion of the conversation we can’t agree we are still going to respect one another and use this statement to state our own opinion…I Acknowledge Your Position … This is My Position and go on to explain why you feel the way the you feel. It is important that both the parent and the teenager understand that this disagreement does not equal rejection and that it is possible to hold differing opinions and still get along.

Do you have other tools that are helping you cope with trying circumstances with your teenagers? I would love to hear about them.

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2 Responses to Get Better At Communicating With Your Teenager

  1. janstring August 22, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

    Hi Mike, :-)
    I have one teenager, just turned 18 and one 20 year old. both very different characters and personalities. I find the individuality they share with us, allows us to develop insight and information into whom they are growing into. Providing opportunities for communication, honesty, openness and building healthy relationships. Placing importance on both the individual and family. Listening to them, aiding them in developing and identifying their core values and most importantly loving them for being who they are but that does not mean ignoring bad or poor behaviour but approaching them and chatting with them about it, so they can get to know themselves. Well, that’s how I see it anyway. Thanks for following my blog. Janice

    • Mike August 24, 2013 at 9:38 am #

      Excellent commentary Janice. I agree that having a relationship that promotes open and honest communication is key to developing with our children. You also said that your children’s individuality allows us to develop insight into their character, I have found that my children have allowed me a greater insight into my own character as well.

      I really appreciate your comments.
      -Mike

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