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We Need to Talk: How to Seriously and Effectively Communicate with Your Teenager

Most parents would appreciate an articulate guide on how to talk to their teenage children since this population is notoriously difficult during serious conversations. Despite that fact, learning what makes your teen comfortable can help to aid the process.

Choose the Right Time

If you’ve heard the cliche “Timing is everything,” understand that it’s a platitude for a reason. Trying to have a serious conversation with your teenager after he just spent the entire afternoon at football practice and has a ton of homework to do is not the best idea. You might even ask your teen when a good time to talk would be to give him him or her some control over the meeting.

Don’t Be So Ambiguous

Sometimes, you might simply tell your teenager that you need to talk and leave it at that. While you don’t want to give him or her time to create an inventive lie about a serious situation, think about giving your teen a heads-up to the nature of the conversation so the beginning is not so awkward and uncomfortable.

Remember to Listen

As much as you believe you are going to listen to your teenager, you might be tempted to take over the conversation when the time comes. Remember, if you are not actively listening, then you are unable to fully understand your child’s perspective on the situation and properly address his or her concerns.

Don’t Enter Pugnaciously

Chances are, you do actually want to talk to your teenager since you aren’t just doling out a punishment and leaving it at that. Therefore, don’t go into the conversation with an overly combative attitude. If that’s the pose you strike, your child is likely going to follow suit, and you’ll just end up with a mess.

Don’t Sneak Attack

If you are planning to involve the other parent in the conversation, let your teenager know this information before the chat begins. Otherwise, you are going to put your child on the defensive the second he or she feels it is one against two.

Express Your Sincere Concern

Even though you want to make your teenager feel comfortable in the situation, you also do not want to make light of a serious problem. Be sure your teenager leaves the conversation with a sense of how serious the subject matter actually was. For dangerous and serious concerns like drunk driving, be sure they are fully aware of the consequences that include jail time, the cost of getting out of jail, the cost of tickets and getting their license suspended, to name a few. Often times, teens don’t think through their decisions and need a sincere reminder of the seriousness of the issue.

Having conversations with teenagers is probably never going to be on a parent’s list of the easiest tasks to accomplish, but you can at least try to make it bearable. Informational credit to A-1 Bail Bonds, Inc.

Tim Esterdahl

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