Teens do not operate on the same schedule as adults and finding time to talk with them can be difficult. It is usually just about the time you are ready to drift off to sleep that you hear that tap on your door. Everything in you will want to wish this moment away but seizing those moments is the best thing you can do right then. Be willing to be interrupted. The teen years are very short and before you know it’s over. Be intentional to be available when it is inconvenient. The best conversations are often the ones you could never have planned. Encourage the spontaneous moments so they know they are not an interruption.
You listened more than you spoke.
If you are like most parents you have the natural gift of “preach” and your kids have been your number one congregation. Having a good conversation with your teen will probably mean you speak less and listen more. The more you can do this the better your communication will become. You may hear some hard things. You may hear some wrong things. But remember, the key is that you are actually hearing them which means your teen is talking. The more they talk the more they will feel heard and may be willing to come to you again. Resolve to listen more the next time your have a conversation with your teen.
You affirmed your love for them.
No matter how difficult the conversation was, always affirm your love and acceptance of them. You may not have like the things talked about but leave them knowing you are glad that they talked with you. Thank them for sharing. Simple statements like, “I am so glad we had this conversation” or ” Thank you for sharing that with me” go a long way in encouraging your teen to keep the communication openly with you. If they can walk away from the conversation assured of your love then you had a good conversation. Every interaction is an opportunity to affirm your love for them.
To learn more about building healthy relationships with your teens consider attending PG-13 Parental Guidance Needed, a workshop for parents of teens.
Post By Eliza Huie
Eliza is a counselor at Life Counseling Center and mother of 3 teens.