Why is talking to teens so hard?

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Answered by: Takyra, An Expert in the Talking to Your Teenager Category
Every parent goes through this phase when they have teens, especially when talking to teens: your young daughter or son slowly making their own lives harder for themselves because they're making mistakes, which could easily be remedied! Before you open your mouth, you have to take into account that giving a teenager advice is like standing on a knife's edge. One word taken the wrong way can ruin an already shaky relationship, or send even a strong one into doubt. When giving teenage advice, there are several things parents have to take into account before speaking, or else risk an unfortunate surprise.

Firstly, remember that an adult and a teenager do not see eye to eye. From a teenager's point of view, things like doing laundry or the dishes are wastes of time. But then again, they've never lived without the dishes or laundry being done. They don't remember that one time where there were no dishes and everyone had to eat off of horrid paper plates for days — or having no clothes that weren't dirty and having to wear something inside out just to not smell horrible.

Experience is one of the best teachers, and usually if experience hasn't taught them yet, they aren't going to believe anyone when they say it will happen. The thing to remember is that there might not be a line between telling someone what's going to happen and being annoying. Unfortunately, teenagers are probably going to think that adults are just being annoying when they give advice, even with the adult's best intentions.

This is the time to bring in consequences. No, not for not listening, but not doing what they should have done in the first place. If a teen doesn't want to do their dishes, tell them they can't use them. If a teen doesn't want to do laundry, tell them they have to do their own. Let experience be the teacher, it will make a bigger impact.

Secondly, when talking to teens, the parents are usually the bad guys. So, your teen wants to go out late on a school night? No thanks. Then they ask "why", though. For whatever reason they are being kept inside for the night, they're going to think it's not fair. They're going to think that they deserve a little fun and that it's not going to hurt anyone, even though the dangers of going out randomly at night are there for all teenagers to know. This is when it is time to be firm, even if they beg. A teenager's first thoughts are about what is fun, not what is best. Once again, experience is the teacher, and the knowledge of just how bad this fun can turn is enough of a deterrent. Stay calm, remain firm, and remind them that this isn't to hurt them, but that it's for their own benefit, even if they can't see it.

The best piece of advice: everyone is different from everyone else. Everyone's going to have a different view. Remind everyone that seniority brings experience, generally giving a better view of the whole situation. Even if the teen doesn't listen, just remain calm and explain that parents are in charge until the teen is eighteen, and that this will make more sense when they are older.

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