How to communicate well with your teenager
Understanding how to communicate with teenagers is a skill most parents learn as they go along. It is arguably even more difficult to grasp when the teenager is a foster child who perhaps hasn’t had the best experience communicating with adults.
Foster parents should understand that in any conversation there are two roles – the listener and the speaker. For good communication you need to swap over the role of listener and speaker constantly. It also needs to be the right time, not when one of you is busy doing something else, or angry, or upset.
Here are some helpful tips to ensure your communication with your teenager is as effective as possible:
Think about the conversation you want to have
If you want to communicate with your teenager, it’s important to think about what you really want to say and choose your moment. If you want to tell them how fed up you are about something, having that conversation when they are tired or fed up, or already in a mood, will only lead to arguments. If you just want a chat, doing so when they are in the middle of homework due in tomorrow will probably annoy them. Consider the purposes of the following types of conversations.
To organise something – if you’re trying to organise something or check out an arrangement. It can take just a few minutes and it is something than can interrupt other issues, or be done as people are about to leave or have just got home. Make it clear that it will only take a short time to discuss and keep to that boundary.
Bonding – bonding conversations can be short and sweet or long and involved. They can need time and space with a cup of coffee to allow you both quality time to talk and listen, and enjoy each other’s company. You can also have these kind of conversations while washing up, or on a car journey. Communication that bonds you together can give your teen a chance to open up and tell you important things about themselves and their lives. The important aspect is that you need to seize the opportunity when it arises. If you’re always too busy or have other important things to do when your teenager approaches you, you may miss the opportunity. And if there are too many missed opportunities, the window closes.
Just a chat – a chat can be long or short, trivial or have hidden nuggets of important information. Just chatting with your teenager can be as much fun as chatting to a friend, and has as much hidden importance. Chat and gossip can help to bring you together just as much as a bonding conversation.
We hope this helps you tackle conversations with your teenager; for more information and tips, click here to read the original article.