Let’s talk about teenagers for a minute. They may act like Facebook is more important than family time, but they still expect you to be there for them if they need to talk, or to make dinner when they get home from soccer practice. So, to help you survive the teenage years, here are two important tips from the researchers at Psychologies magazine.
- Tip #1: Acknowledge their anger. Suzie Hayman is a counselor with Parentline Plus, a British charity that provides help and support to anyone caring for children. She says that if your teenager’s flooded with emotion, acknowledge it by saying, “I can see you’re angry” - and step away for 10 minutes while they cool off. Then, sit down and ask what’s wrong, and really listen. Don’t downplay what’s bothering them. Hayman says it’s too easy to dismiss their reasons for anger as being teenage and silly. For example, it may seem like your teenage son is upset that his sister is hogging the television, but it might actually be about not having seen his dad for months. So pay attention. Also, Hayman says don’t try to use humor. That’ll just make your kid more upset because it feels like you’re dismissing them.
- Tip #2: Break the ice with a text message. Jenni Trent Hughes is the author of Tough Talk Made Easy. She says that telling your teen, “I think we need to have a talk,” will make them defensive because they’ll immediately assume something’s wrong. Nowadays, kids do most of their intimate communicating by text or social networking sites. Hughes says she had a situation where her teenage son needed to talk to her, but he wanted to do it by text from the next room. She let him start out that way, then went in the other room, sat next to him and they talked. So, if you want to really communicate with your kids, compromise on how you do it. They have to feel comfortable, or you probably won’t get a real heart-to-heart conversation.