How to successfully communicate with your teen

When we say the word ‘teenagers’ – what’s the first thing we think of? Hormones, slamming doors, raging arguments and sneaking out in the middle of the night? You might not be wrong there.

Those teenage years have traditionally been one of the most complicated to navigate for both the teen and the parent. At the clinic we work with a lot of clients who have the daily struggle of how to communicate and negotiate with their teen.

We see a lot of butting heads and non-negotiables thrown around which just fuel the flames of angst even more. Therefore we wanted to give you a little insight into a few tips which we think might help those family feuds going on in your house.

How do I successfully negotiate with my teen?

Speak from a place of calm

As with younger children, trying to talk and negotiate when you are both coming from a place of anger or frustration can work against you. If you want to talk about a specific topic, you’re better placed to do this when you are both calm and relaxed and open to chat. Find a nice quiet place in the house with no distractions and keep those calm conversational tones flowing.

“Side by Side” Conversations

Did you ever notice that your teen tends to talk more with you during car trips, when walking the dog, or running errands?

Side by side conversations are less threatening for a teen than “face to face”.  It can take out the seriousness of the conversation and make the communication more relaxed.

Connect with your teen during these opportunities, use these as teaching moments where they can be receptive to what you have to say.

The art of negotiation

Allow your teen to fully communicate their wish to you in the neutral setting you’ve set out. Perhaps they want to go to a party? Extend their curfew? Buy the latest gadget? Leave your mind open to hearing their full request before jumping to conclusions.

Your teen wants to be heard and to feel like you are genuinely listening. Once they have laid their ‘cards on the table’ this gives you a chance to voice your thoughts and concerns on the subject.

Together once you both know all the facts and reasonings, it gives you a great platform to negotiate and find a solution that suits you.

“If you’d like to go to the party, I respect that and you can go, however I would like you to message me at 9pm to let me know you’re ok and that I will pick you up at 10pm.”

“I understand that you want to buy the latest iPhone, I appreciate that it can help you do a lot of things. However, I would like you to prove to me over the next 4 weeks that you can improve your school grades and help out more with cleaning the house before I will agree.

Challenge your own parenting behaviour

When it comes to teenagers they will want to explore new things, test the boundaries and seek new adventures. Don’t you remember being JUST like that when you were younger?

As parents we need to remember that our teen is now in a different developmental stage and we need to shift our headspace to working with this new norm. A flat out ‘no’ to any request will just not resonate with your teen.

Negativity towards your teens request can easily lead to cranky behaviour in that moment but also create even more resistance. As parents we know that they might even just go off and do it anyway! —

Final Thoughts

Remember as a parent, ultimately the decision is yours but feeling like you and your teen have work together will set some great boundaries for the future.

At Child Development Solutions Australia we have a great team of experts to support you through these growing pains! Click here to book in or make an enquiry.