Educational Insights 2.3.2014
PARENT TIPS FOR TALKING TO TEENS
Posted on 02/03/2014

*Be brief: reduce your words by 75%, by saying less, they will tune in more!

*Ask open-ended questions: instead of asking, “How was school today?” say, “Tell me about school today.” Another example is: “Show me how Instagram — or Twitter, or Facebook, or SnapChat, or whatever — works. What do you and your friends use it for?”

*Minimize critical talks: make sure that only a small amount of your conversation with your teen is about what he or she is doing wrong, or needs to change,” Teens tend to be insecure, it helps when they hear you say positive things about them.

*Get to know your teen: approach your child with curiosity and openness, and ask them questions without having an agenda. Try to avoid judging your teen and their preferences. Instead, focus on active listening and learning.

*Don’t judge: avoid judging your child, or his friends or peers, in regard to their core essence, their character, as it creates a division between you and your child. It’s okay to disapprove of actions, but not of people.

*Know yourself: to parent a teen most effectively, you have to understand yourself and your own family of origin really well. For instance, if you’re regularly getting angry, frustrated or disappointed with your child, delve deeper, ask yourself whether that emotion is derivative of your own baggage.

*Talk to your teen like you don’t know them: treat your teen like your neighbor or cousin’s daughter, this helps you get out of a poor communication rut. Plus, you might even approach your teen more thoughtfully and with more kindness.

*Play: the importance of playing with your teen is as valuable as when they were toddlers! Laughter is a great communication enhancer.

The key is to make sure your child knows that you’re available to talk when they’re ready. The best way to connect to your teen is by being curious, open and available.

-Dr. Paula Sissel

Garden County Schools

Superintendent/Elementary Principal