Talking with Teens

What should parents do if they want their teenagers to confide in them? Dr. Joyce Vedral, author of several books on the teenager-parent relationship, asked a large number of teens to answer this question, and here is what they said.

Generally, teenagers tend to feel comfortable talking with those parents with whom they can laugh and joke, parents whose understanding they know can count on. When asked why they would choose one parent over another to confide in, they invariably say they choose the one who stays calm even when they, themselves, are emotional, and who never says things like, "That shouldn't bother you."

Here's something else that's critical. In our efforts to get our teenagers to talk to us, many of us neglect to talk to them - especially about how much we appreciate, love and admire them. Sometimes we get so caught up in our efforts to keep our kids on the right track that we forget to tell them how great they are. That is a big mistake.

Nothing can be more encouraging and more conducive to building their self-esteem than you taking the time to express confidence that they have what it takes to make it in life.

They may not tell you on the spot how much your approval matters to them, but believe me, it does.

P.S. Don't feel guilty if you haven't done these things so far. There's no time like the present to start!

article by
Lou Tice
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The Pacific Institute

Listening to Teens

An article by Lou Tice...
Parents of teenagers often complain that they can't get their kids to communicate. Sometimes there are good reasons why.

Teenagers really want to be able to talk to their parents. In fact, in some cases, they're dying because they can't. Most teens who commit suicide are those who feel they can't talk to either parent, and their feelings of loneliness, isolation and despair take over.

Parents, without realizing it, do things that stop their teen-aged children from confiding in them. What sorts of things? Well, they interrupt to give reprimands and lectures instead of just listening, giving support and saving the moral lesson for another time.

Or, they discount what the teen is feeling by making it seem trivial or unimportant, especially when compared to the grown-up responsibilities parents must cope with.

If you catch yourself behaving in these ways when your teenagers try to talk with you, stop and apologize. Your teenager will appreciate your efforts to change your behavior to gain a closer relationship, and he or she will give you another chance - maybe not on the spot, but soon.

If your communications have broken down completely, a few visits to a good family therapist can help get you back on track. Few things in life are as important as your relationship with your kids. Why not make it as good as it can possibly be?

by Lou Tice
Learn more or read more at:
The Pacific Institute