How do I communicate with my TEENAGER!?!!??

Why does my teen feel the need to argue with me?

Your teen DOES NOT feel the need to argue with you.  Your teen DOES feel the need to be heard, understood, and accepted.  When your teen feels they are not being heard they will argue, yell, and act out because they are frustrated and feeling alone.

How do I make my teen feel understood?

By listening to them!!  When an argument begins parents are so frustrated with being disrespected they close their ears to their teen; much like their teen does when they’re frustrated with not being understood.  By repeating what your teen wants in a clear, calm manner you show them you are taking in what they are saying to you.

How is telling them what they want to hear helping them?

Letting your teen know you hear them is not the same as letting them have their way.  Once you’ve calmly showed them you are listening to them, it is your turn to explain your opinion.  You can still tell your teen no and let them know you understand where they are coming from.

What’s the best way to talk to my teen?

Stay calm!!  You set the tone of the conversation with your child, if they try to escalate the conversation to an argument it is up to you to stay calm and keep the discussion from turning into a screaming match.

What are other important things to remember when talking to my teen?

Don’t judge.  Don’t tell your teen “You don’t understand”.  Do create a safe, open space for expression.  Do show your child how to keep calm by doing so yourself.  Always remember that you are a parent, not a friend; it’s ok for your teen to be angry with you for not giving them their way, just continue to show them you are listening to them and taking in everything they are saying.   If you would like to involve a counselor in your conversations to better help you communicate with your teenager, please call our office for an appointment.

We’re located in Metairie (504) 717-4043 or Mandeville (985) 624-2942 -Dr. Andre Sagrera Judice, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT, DCEP

 

-Contributed by Michelle Haeur, M.Ed., NCC, Counselor Intern