Do you want to have more constructive conversations with your teenager?

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Answered by: Carrie, An Expert in the Talking to Your Teenager Category
Do you ever feel like it's too difficult to have conversations with your teenager, or like they're just tuning you out when you talk? Everyone knows raising teenagers can be overwhelming, especially when they're lacking communication with you. Being a teenager myself, I speak from personal experience when I say that sometimes teens just want to shut down and solve their own problems. Most parents are "too controlling" because they feel their teen doesn't communicate with them. All parents just want to help their children, so when they don't share their problems with their parents, it can cause quite a few problems.

To solve these problems, parents honestly need to remember their own teenage years with their own parents. Of course times have changed, so no parent can completely understand all of the components of a problem that their child is having today. But with more communication, any parent and child can have a better relationship. With a few obvious exceptions, a good relationship with your child has the same concept as a good relationship with a spouse. All good relationships must have communication, and compassion to know when you just can't fix others' problems. As much as you may want to, sometimes you don't have the ability to correct whatever problem they made. This is something we all have to accept while trying to help other people.

Another thing we all have to accept is that everyone makes mistakes. Correction: everyone, especially teenagers, make mistakes! In our teen years, we take all of the opportunities we are given to do great, mess up, make up, and hopefully end up with something great in the end. It is simply a way of life and, I'm sure, some sort of twisted up rite of passage. We all have to make our own mistakes to learn how we want to live our lives as individuals. As much as all of our parents want to protect us, we still have to find ways to deal with our own issues.

If you find it nearly impossible to have conversations with your teenager, then here are a few ideas of what you could do to get out what you need to say.

-Writing notes back and forth to your teenager can sometimes help both parties explain the difficult situations. A lot of times, teens and adults find it too hard to say things face-to-face, so leaving a note for each other can help. Of course, there are still complications with this idea. Even though you could talk about the harder things through the notes, you're still not really "talking" to each other.

-Weekly sessions of just sitting down and talking to each other can be good for gaining communication skills. It could be hard to sit and talk for a long time at first, but the phrase "practice makes perfect" really applies in this situation.

-Going to a therapist to talk out any family issues is also very helpful. Having that neutral third party to listen to both sides makes solving problems a lot easier.

In most every situation, it takes a lot more than just leaving notes on the door. To make conversations with your teenager better, you have to communicate. Hanging out with your child is always a good way to connect, whether it's doing activities that you like to do or they like to do (just make it enjoyable for everyone). Hopefully you can find a middle ground to talk and have fun with your teenager, and not have any more problems communicating. Good luck!

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