One of the most difficult times in the life of a parent is trying to have good communication with their teenager. Whether they have a son or daughter, or multiple children that are at this adolescent age, communication can prove to be challenging. They are thinking at a completely different level.
Their bodies are changing, and as they approach the age where they will graduate high school, they are thinking about themselves more and more. They are not going to resume what many call normal thinking until they have had a few years away from home. During that time that they are with you, you need to make the best of what you are able to do with them, and communication is the key to making things work.
However, you need to know how to speak with them so that when both of you have a conversation, you are on a level playing field. Here are some tips that you can use in order to have proper conversations with your teenagers, and why you should learn about communication styles for teenagers counselling to help improve your chances of enjoying these years with them.
Why It Is Difficult To Talk With Teenagers
There are several reasons why parents will have a very difficult time talking with teenagers. It has to do with what is happening in their lives. Up until the age of 11 or 12, they are still very much like children, and will still look at you as their parents that can help them as you always have. The problem begins when adolescents kicks in, and their bodies begin to change. Hormones will be racing through their bodies, and their bodies will be changing rapidly, which is going to affect their perception of not only the world but you.
They are going to become more self-involved, and they will begin to rely upon their peers more than you which can be very challenging. It is during this time that you must be patient, but you must also learn how to speak with your teenagers in a way that will sustain your relationship. Many parents make the mistake of trying to become tougher, talking with a very authoritarian attitude. Although this is necessary, at times, it is sometimes better to take a more authoritative stance.
How To Speak With Your Teenagers
First of all, you need to recognize that the way you have always spoken with them is going to change. Of course, they are still going to be your son or daughter, but they are literally becoming different people. As a transition from children to adults, they will have more of a sense of individuality, and they need to know that you recognize this. They also need to know that you are going to be patient with them, and empathetic, without actually telling you what is going on in their lives.
There are many communication styles for teenagers counselling that you should consider adopting, ones that you can learn if you ever have to work with a counsellor directly. There are a few that work very well, and the following communication styles are highly recommended if you are going to maintain a positive relationship with your teenage son or daughter.
Adopt An Assertive Style Of Speaking
This style of speaking is often confused with being aggressive, or perhaps even passive-aggressive, but it is certainly not the same. The style is one that projects authority, but it is also a style of speaking that is always listening to what the other person has to say. You need to present yourself in a very positive way, connecting with them, without trying to assert or express a totalitarian authority. On the other hand, you do not want to interact with them as if they are your friends as that is not your place as the parent.
You need to consider your posture which should be relaxed, and your gestures should be even. You need to make eye contact, which is actually one of the key components to having a good conversation with anyone. Always make sure that your voice is level, and even if they upset you, you can’t express that they have done so.
Your language needs to be permeated with questions, requests, and very few demands. By doing this, they are not going to have their defenses up and they will honestly try their best to interact with you in a positive way. If you already have rapport with your son or daughter, this particular style of communication is one of the best.
Communication Styles You Need To Avoid
There are a couple communication styles that are absolutely not going to work. The most obvious one is an aggressive style. This is also called an authoritarian style where you are demanding things go only your way. This is a form of communication that doesn’t work with really anybody unless you are in a position of power where people cannot contradict you. Either way, it is not a good way to communicate with anyone, certainly not a teenager.
Another communication style to avoid with teenagers is the submissive style. This is a little different than you would imagine. When people think of submission, or submissiveness, they believe that they are catering to the whims of others. Yet when parents use this particular style, it is the least confrontational. They will not make eye contact, and will actually appear small or weak in the presence of their children, and this is a huge mistake. You need to show that you are still in charge, but it’s also good to show empathy. This particular style will literally lead you into situations where they will walk all over you.
Finally, need to avoid using guilt to get your way and this is something that many parents are very good at. Whether they learn this because of their own parents, or they are using this as a measure of last resort, it is a very common style that parents of teenagers often use. Some people call it cunning, a personality type that will actually make generating artificial tears very easy. The key component to this style is making your children feel guilty, even if they have no reason to. It’s a powerful technique, and it can cause your children to become submissive. However, once they get older, they will realize that you were only manipulating them and that will fracture your relationship.
What If You Need To Go To Counselling?
The communication styles for teenagers counselling that you will probably experience are going to be similar to the ones that have already been presented. They will definitely recommend using an assertive style with your personality, one that conveys authority with love. Your kids are still going to look at you as their parents, but during this time, you need to cut them a little bit of slack. That’s why using empathy, and becoming a good listener, are important traits to develop.
If you are having problems doing this, you will need to see one of these counsellors that can provide you with tips on what to do. You may need to take your kids with you to these meetings where the counsellor can help both of you learn to interact. As long as you have found a counsellor that has worked with teenagers and parents before, they should be able to help. You may want to look at testimonials that people have left online that can show you which ones are having the most success at helping parents and teenagers in your immediate area.
How To Improve Your Relationships Even More
If you are able to adopt a communication style that is similar to the assertive style that was mentioned, or one that your teenage counsellor will help you develop, you should be able to maintain your relationship with your kids. You can take this a step higher, even improve your relationship, by doing a couple other things. Kids need to know that you are going to give them space to grow up, but they also need to know that you still want to be there for them.
You might want to plan special trips once a month, and during this time you can work on interacting with them, but also do so in a more active manner. The words that you say are important, but your actions are also equally important. If you are busy at work, and you really haven’t had a lot of time to spend with them, you need to make time. This is an important moment in their lives, and you need to be there to help them transition from kids to adults, and there is no better way than to show them how much you care.
Although some kids will want to spend more time with their teenage counterparts, there are times where they will remember that spending time with you was also fun. It’s something you need to recommend, and not demand, and this is a strategy that many teenage counsellors will recommend. Finally, if you want to get through this with as little stress as possible, always tell them that you are available to talk with.
They may not take you up on this offer for quite some time, but if they ever do have something that requires your advice, let them be the ones to initiate this conversation. By combining the use of proper conversations with them, and activities that will build your relationship, you will see that going through their teenage years is not that difficult at all because of how you chose to approach it.
If you are currently having problems with your teenagers, and you need help, you should certainly consider learning the communication styles for teenagers counselling that you will be taught during these sessions. If not, you can simply start using the assertive style that has been presented here, and avoid all of the others. You may want to work with your spouse before interacting with your kids just to make sure you are on the right track.
It’s only a short period of time in their lives where they are going to be this way. What you do not want to do is create a rift during this time. As long as you are listening to what they have to say, and you are trying to use positive strategies, you should be able to get through their teenage years with your relationship intact.