Monday, February 27, 2012

Get Your Teens to Listen

Adina Soclof
Teens are in a stage where they are trying to individuate. A teenager needs to separate from his/her parents and become their own independent person. Teens seem to live by the principle of "You can't tell me what to do!" This is a natural result of their struggle to find themselves. They relay this message to their parents and teachers in their words, their actions, their physical stance and their attitude. In my classes I advise parents not to engage their children in conflict during this sensitive phase of their lives.

Teens get defensive easily and will not hesitate to argue with their parents. I encourage parents to gain cooperation by using indirect language and effective communication techniques. Two skills that can ease the tension between parents and their teens are:Giving Information and Describing the Problem.

Here are some examples: (Click on the image to enlarge)
When we give information we use a neutral and non-confrontational tone. Giving information reduces conflict. Similarly, when we describe the problem, we avoid giving orders. What needs to be done becomes obvious in the context. It is the child’s conclusion, not the adult’s command. When decisions are self-inferred, children are less likely to resist and more likely to cooperate.

Our interactions with our teens can be peaceful and calm. (No, I am not crazy!) We want to avoid conflict with our teens so that the lines of communication remain open. We want to make sure that they always feel comfortable coming to us with their problems.

Adina Soclof is a certified speech pathologist and parent educator. Her website offers informative and inspirational parenting workshops designed to help parents create a calm, happy home.

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