Teenagers can be hard to communicate with as sometimes they can be extremely moody or stubborn.
It can make even the more experienced of parents frustrated with the added worry of not really knowing if your teenager is stressed or upset about something.
Here in the office we know the struggles of raising teenagers, and we have put together our best tips so you can communicate with your moody teen every day.
Don’t act straight away and listen – It is easy to react to your teenager’s moodiness by either arguing back or saying something stupid but that doesn’t help matters. You need to ask why they are acting this way and listen - without being aggressive about it. You may find your teenager is acting up because of a bad day at school and they are taking it out on you because it is easy to. Be relaxed and talk to your teenager while you prepare dinner and be interested in their day but stop short of grilling them on every little thing.
Trust your teenager – This isn’t easy, but a teenager will begin to earn your trust if they are given an opportunity to do so. Your teenager needs to trust you too and if you respond to their problems and support them then, your teen will understand you are an ally instead of an enemy.
Don’t brush off their feelings – If your teenager comes to you and talks to you about their problems, they don’t want to hear your judgement that they are being “silly”. They wanted you to know they are upset, stressed or anxious but they don’t need you to laugh off their troubles. Any problem (however small) is a big deal for a teenager as it is “their” problem. It may be nothing to you and you may know it will all be fine, but your teenager needs to know you understand them. Empathise and talk about solutions to their issue instead of being dismissive.
Stay in control – When an irate teenager comes calling it can be hard to not lose control and say the wrong thing. Remember, you are the adult and you are teaching your teenager how to react. If you react aggressively you are showing your teenager it is ok to lose it. Instead, calm the situation down and ask your teenager to speak to you instead of shouting. Don’t lose your temper and keep your voice even without raising it to match your angry teenager's voice.
Pay attention to your teenager – In every way possible. Your teenager needs you to notice their mood changes or when they haven’t eaten dinner in a few days. You need to pay attention and recognise when your teen is being “out of sorts” and unless you communicate well with your teen you may not be able to notice these things.
Have dinner together – Family dinner is a great time to get everyone talking and as a family, you should ensure everyone chats about their day. This keeps the lines of communication open and while your teenager won’t say too much to all the family it enables them to understand family life and chats.
Find something you both love – Teenagers love a lot of things and you need to find something you both love to spend time together chatting. This way you will have a good relationship that is strong and trustworthy. It means when your teenager does need advice or help, you’ll be a port of call and that is exactly what is needed.
Emma Hayes is a thirty-something mum of two girls aged 16 and 10, planting her right into the teenage and tween-age years! Follow her on Twitter at @EmmaHayes25.