Counseling Works, PLLC
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Authored by Counseling Works, PLLC Staff


Overcoming Communication Barriers with Your Teen

One of the top concerns I receive from parents is how to communicate effectively with their adolescent. At their developmental stage, they want to figure out solutions to their problems on their own or with their peers. However as a parent, it may feel as though you are being pushed away. Here’s the key: don’t take it personal. It just takes a little more patience and understanding! If you've been struggling to overcome communication barriers, here are 5 tips to communicate effectively with your teen:

  1. Be sincere in your approach and tone.

    1. “I notice you haven’t been in the best mood. I don’t want to assume anything is going on, but if there is an issue, let’s talk. No judgment.”

  2. Validate their feelings!

    1. “Your teacher could’ve worded their criticism differently, you’re right. That comment would’ve made me upset too.”

    2. “It’s okay to cry. I’ll be right here when you are ready to talk it out.”

  3. Avoid the urge to immediately respond.

    1. Practice listening for understanding. As parents I know you only want the best for your child, and you want to share your wisdom. However sometimes they don’t need a response; providing just a listening ear and a hug can go a long way.

  4. Spend quality time.

    1. Go on dates with your teen! It opens the door for honest communication; mainly because their guard is down. They aren’t expecting a lecture, they are only expecting to spend time and have fun with you.

  5. Be open to alone time.

    1. Sometimes your teen just needs space to grow. I know what you’re thinking, “it’s my house, they don’t need any space, I need space!” lol However, they are an individual working on their own issues and development as well. One day out of the week, where everyone in the house has an hour or two to spend alone, reading a book, watching their favorite program, taking a nap, etc.

Communication is a skill that can always become better and stronger with time and effort. At times it may feel as though your teen is not interested in communicating, but most times they are. Sometimes it just takes a different approach. 

***If you're finding communication more difficult than you can manage independently, and you believe your teen could benefit from professional help, counseling is a great resource to identify and address additional/in-depth needs your teen may have.

~ Authored By A. Cunningham