Communicating with Your Teens

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Let it go, Listen, Forgive

Debbie Hundley LPC-Intern
Supervised by Christy Graham LPC-S

Teens are rare creatures; naturally rebellious while longing for acceptance. As parents, we want to do everything we can to make sure our children are successful, happy, and excel in life. Those things are great, but sometimes, more than needing us to push them forward, our teens need us to be the constant in their world of change.

  • Let it go. – Teenagers are moody. Their brains are developing. Their bodies are changing. Do not take their grouchiness as a personal attack or insult. While it is best to try not to take our teen’s mood changes personally, be aware that depending on the day, he or she may take everything personally.
  • Listen. – As we want what is best for our children, it can be challenging to simply listen. Take time to listen to your child without trying to rescue your child from his or her “bad” friends, bad decisions, uncompassionate teachers, misunderstandings, etc…. Just listen. They want to be able to tell someone about their day, about their friends, and their lives. Wouldn’t it be great, if the someone they can come to, is you?

As a teacher, I have heard many children say, “…but if I tell my parents, they will get mad.” Yes, it is upsetting when we think our child may be around people who are not doing “the right thing”, or when our child is making poor choices. This is the time they need to be able to talk to us.

When your teen is telling you about something that happened at school or while out with friends, they are telling you about their lives. If they are in a school setting, they cannot get away from the things that go on around them on a daily basis. Whether we like it or not, our children are around many people of whom we would not approve of, and have no control over.

Our teens consider some of these people their friends.

If you are judgmental or lecture every time your teen opens their mouth about what other people are doing, they will become defensive. They will shy away from bringing up issues they may want your opinion on, if they expect you may “get mad” at them. When you child starts to talk about their friend who keeps getting in trouble at school, or how their friend said something inappropriate to someone else, try not to react negatively. Allow your teen talk. You can teach them the way you want your family to live on a daily basis by being empathetic and a role model for them.

  • Forgive them. – They may frustrate us or even make us angry at times. They can be so disrespectful. They may blame us for everything that upsets them. Forgive them anyway, and forgive them every day. It is not easy to love someone when you have not forgiven them. Even when it seems like the last place on earth your teen wants to be is where you are, they still need to be loved by you.

Interested in learning more about communication with your teen? Email me at [email protected] or call for an appointment 940-222-8703.

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