2. Arguing is the failure of good communication. Words may be thrown out but they are rarely received. If you feel the conversation is heading downward suggest that you finish the talk later after you have both calmed down. Never resort to name calling, bringing up issues from the past (focus on the present problem), or interrupt your child. Give them the respect you expect!
3. Give your teen the opportunity to share information about their day, their interests, their friends, and happenings at school even if you are not particularly interested. If they feel you are receptive when they talk about the ‘small things’ they will be more likely to come to you when they need to talk about the ‘big’ things.
4. Ask for your teen’s opinion often. This helps your budding adult to feel valued and worthy. Let them help you set down curfew times, rules and consequences. Teach them the fine art of bargaining and compromise.
5. Use teachable moments. When you see an issue such as sex or drug use on television, take the opportunity to get your adolescent’s viewpoint. Discuss the topic with him/her but try to stay away from getting too preachy. They will probably just tune you out.
6. A great place to talk is while driving in the car. You have a ‘captive’ audience and you can discuss touchy subjects that may be too uncomfortable for your teen to talk to you about eye to eye.
7. If your adolescent wants to get into a serious discussion and you really cannot make the time for them, schedule another time to talk. Better to delay the conversation than make your child feel hurried or unimportant.
8. Practice reflective listening. When your teen finishes making a point, repeat what he/she has said to ensure you have heard correctly. Try, “let me see if I understand what you are saying…”
9. Teens don't always like to be the topic under discussion. Try talking about your memories of being a teen. This will take the pressure off her and put the focus on you. It may also open the door if she wants to tell you about something important to her.
10. The biggest hurdle to good communication with our adolescents is our obsession to instruct and inform them, instead of talking and listening to them. We have to remember that teens really don't care what you know (even if you know a lot) unless they know you care!
Good communication with teenagers is not easy, but it's worth the effort. Good communication must include meaningful praise; it must include sharing our feelings and talking about what we stand for and believe in, and it must include sincere and genuine listening.