Ahhh, the teenage years. It's hard enough going through them, let alone parenting someone who is! Hopefully the roles we're identifying for parents this week will help.
2. Teach teens communication skills.
We've all heard it said that the best way to teach good behavior is to model it. Well, the same goes for communication. If you want your teen to speak "adult", then you need to model it and practice it with them. Speaking respectfully to your teen, asking questions (versus demanding information) and using a respectful tone when conversing with them will model the same treatment you want in return. Be open and honest with your child to invite them to open up to you as well. As you are already well aware, children have a way of seeing and hearing everything. Teens will open up and be more willing to join in a conversation when they know they're going to get the truth from an adult rather than the run-around.
Be careful to not criticize a quiet teen, as it may make them retreat further into their shell. Instead, find an area of interest of theirs and start discussing this with them, even if you have no interest in it at all. The goal is to open the areas of communication. Talk about the hard topics even if you feel uncomfortable. It's better if your child hears about sex, drugs, relationships, etc... from you, their trusted parent, than from someone who isn't as trustworthy.
Lastly, ask yourself these questions: Did I like my communication relationship with my parents growing up? What did they do that worked? What would I change now that I'm parenting a teen? Is there anything I need to change in order to make my teen feel safe enough to tell me anything that is on their heart or mind?
Thank you for reading. Please check back in for our next 2 Parenting Roles.
Written by: Tamara McCord MA, LMHC, LCAC
*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.