How to Talk to Your Teen

If you really feel a need to talk to your child about something, you're probably the last person they want to talk to. They feel alone, and that they don't want their confidence riding on a parent. It would be too awkward. But there is a way to do it.


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    Don't make a production out of getting them to talk. Don't sit them down and start with something that makes them nervous, like "I'm worried about you honey," or "We need to talk." It makes them prepare themselves for the worst and usually makes them defensive.
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    Realize that it's never going to be easy getting into it. If the matter is really important, take them out for ice cream, or to a public place that they enjoy where they can't just storm off into their room if the topic gets too heated. You want it to be a place where you can sit down and just discuss like civilized adults. Although, the 'birds and bees' talk is not recommended for the mall food court.
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    Don't jump into the discussion headfirst. Straight out saying "I want you to break up with your boyfriend," is going to scare them. They immediately think that if this is what you're starting with, then they are in for a horrible lecture on how much David is a terrible person. They will immediately either get exasperated and hardened to the subject, or begin to tune you out. Ease into it.
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    Do not try and make it seem like you're their friend. You're their parent, and they know that. They will feel even more awkward if you start acting completely different than normal. Talk to them normally so it won't feel as forced and completely alien.
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    Accept that your teen may not want to talk to you. This is when you're going to want to try and force the topic on them and break them into admitting their deepest darkest sins. It won't happen. They may be closed to the subject and just don't want to talk to you about it. That's okay. They probably are confiding with a friend. Everyone needs someone to talk to. If that particular matter isn't being spilled to you, they probably already have done so to someone else. Relax. As long as they are physically and emotionally okay, it isn't a huge deal.
    • If they are going through a rough point where they aren't comfortable with themselves, and they don't feel confident, they will not want to admit this to you. This is the situation when the parent gets very soft and weepy, and the child wants to pretend that nothing at all is happening. They want normalcy between the two of you. Don't try to get them to admit their darkest feelings. They will all come out eventually. Don't press the matter either. It will close them up even further to the subject. Just make sure to show constant love and support, but not too much, or it will be uncomfortable for the both of you.
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    Stop dangerous or hurtful behavior. If they are doing something that could be hurtful, or possibly dangerous, stop them. Drugs and alcohol and abuse are not light matters. They will not want to even acknowledge a problem here, so tell them. This is when you want to be less mom-like, and more forceful. They need to know how bad this could be for them. They are afraid of stopping, and they are afraid of letting themselves know what they're doing. It's not you they're afraid of, it's themselves. If these things are happening, you have to intervene. They can't pull themselves out of a hole like this.
    • Some parents don't want to wrap their kids up in bubble wrap and stick them in a closet, because they fear that their child won't love or appreciate them anymore. But this isn't a time to worry about those sort of things. They will always love you no matter what you say, and in the long run, their safety is the presiding factor over your popularity with them. Help them. Know where they are and tell them if you know that they are doing something wrong. It is important.
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    Accept that it is never going to be easy, but it isn't impossible. Love them. Be a parent. Pray about it. All this coming from a teen, you know it's the truth.

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Categories: Youth