How to communicate better with my teenager

These tools can be easily used for many different relationships in your life. Today we will utilize the ever-difficult parent to teen relationship to demonstrate this simple tool.
Most parents struggle to determine how best to communicate and connect when their child hits adolescence. No longer are parents the first level of influence for their son or daughter. Oftentimes it may seem like your input holds no merit whatsoever. However, communication and continued parental investment at this stage is key for development in the last phase before adulthood.
Let’s discuss how 3 words can create stronger connection and communication.
Here are two simple tools for parents to communicate more effectively with their teenager.

1. Relate

2. Get Curious

It seems simple. Relate and Get Curious

Yet, execution of these may be uncomfortable for parents.  It means allowing yourself a deeper level of vulnerability with your son or daughter than most are accustomed.  Your teenager is likely going through very difficult times--especially in their eyes.  If you allow yourself to be viewed as vulnerable through Relating your personal story to their current experience you will quickly connect.  This then opens the door for you to Get Curious with their current experience.  
Relating will likely be a vulnerable experience for you.  It’s particularly vulnerable because it’s not just about relating your external experience, but also sharing the emotional experience connected to this.  So, it’s often sharing parts of your own history that describe times of being turned down for a date along with the embarrassment and loneliness, failing a class (shame), having a panic attack (fear), holding a lie that created heavy guilt (fear, guilt, shame), etc.  
Showing that you struggled with these same issues provides a level of peace for your son or daughter.  This will then allow you to feel more comfortable to Get Curious.  Start with simple curious questions like, “did you connect to my story or was I way off the mark with your experience?” Afterwards, you can move to more open-ended questions that relate to your teenager’s experience.  
Keeping your focus on these 3 words will likely create deeper bonds built upon honesty between yourself and your adolescent.  
Justin Gable, LCPC

Posted on:

Wednesday, March 13, 2019




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