Didi Zahariades, founder of Coach to Win gives us advice on how to communicate with your teens. For more information visit her website.
How to Communicate with Your Teen
Kick up the speed of your conversation: Keep it short and simple, create a conversation, and don't deliver a lecture.
Speak their language: Accept that text messaging, online chat, and cell phones are the way they "talk." Learn to text! Your teen will respond to a text even if it’s a situation where he may not answer your phone call. Set expectations in regards to text. For example: No texting during dinner.
Learn who your ‘online teen’ is: Know what social networking sites your teen is a part of and discuss it with him. Make your teen aware that you will be checking these sites and reviewing his computer usage also. Make it an open and direct conversation. Ask to see your teen’s page.
Stay Calm and Be Patient: Let your teen speak at his own pace. Recognize a teen will not tell you everything, but he wants to talk stop what you are doing and make time for the conversation. Keep eye contact and encourage them to keep talking with open ended questions.
Give advice when necessary; don’t become Dr. Abby: Give your teen an opportunity to become a problem solver. Keep your ‘fix it’ mentality to a minimum. Give your teen permission to make mistakes; perfection is not the goal. Be cautious of ‘snooping’ or becoming a detective with your teen in order to get the answers. If you want to know ask!
Always tell your teen how much you love them, no matter what the circumstances.