Imagine this: you are talking to your teenage son or daughter. You hope to impart some tidbit of wisdom to them. Or (maybe more realistically) you need them to know a piece of information or want them to do something.
As you are talking your teen stops what they are doing, makes eye contact and listens. They respond respectfully.
This calls for a celebration, right?!
Okay, okay. So maybe conversations with your teen don’t go this well. They may never go so perfectly. And that is alright.
Part of being a teenager is starting to separate from your parents and make your own decisions. This is our goal for our children!
If only the signs of this occurring weren’t so painful: Eye rolls. Disrespect. Slamming doors. Not listening.
Does that sound more familiar? Probably.
Teenagers’ brains are actually wired to take risks and not consider consequences. Thinking ahead and reading social, non-verbal and/or verbal cues are not skills your teen has fully developed. This is because their brain is still growing.
I can’t promise to end all of these behaviors once and for all. That would be a pretty outrageous promise based on what we know about teenagers and their brains!
What I can offer you is 5 tips to help your teen listen and be more respectful.
Ready? Here we go.
These strategies work for teens in all kinds of family situations. These work for step-parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches and pretty much anyone else who interacts with teens.
If you have a strained relationship with the teen in your life, these will work for you. Just know that it might take both of you a while to adjust your habits and your reactions. Be patient and keep trying!
Which one of these tips is the hardest for you? Leave us a comment with your experience!
Ready for more suggestions on talking with your teen? Download my free e-book, “How Not to Start an Argument with Your Teen OR What to Say When.” It will guide you through five common situations parents of teens find themselves in.
Bethany Raab is a Denver-based social worker who loves helping teens and their families be happy and healthy!