Communication is very important in a parent-child relationship. It strengthens the bond between them, while letting each other know any issue and problem they might have.
Communicating with your children is especially crucial if they are in their teenage years. As we know, this is a very challenging phase in life. So what should you do, as a parent, to improve communication between you and your teenage children?
Always be there for your teens
Know when your teens are most likely to talk and available. Do they talk more often in the car, before dinner, or at bedtime? Make the initiative to start the conversation. This will let your kids know that you really care about the goings-on in their lives.
Avoid starting a conversation with a question as much as possible. It is a good idea to start by sharing what is on your mind. Learn about their interests (favorite music or film, for example) and express your interest in them. Find time for a face-to-face talk with each teen. Do not schedule other activities during this important time.
Let them know you are listening
Listen and stop whatever you are doing at the moment when your teens are talking to you about their concerns. Show interest and avoid being intrusive. Listen carefully to what they are saying, even if you find it difficult to hear. Allow them to finish their point first before responding and asking questions. Show them that you understand their concerns by repeating what they said.
Watch your tone
Try to soften your reactions, no matter how strong they are. Teens will be put off if you appear defensive or angry. Express your opinion in ways that do not put down theirs. Acknowledge that it is all right to disagree. You must resist the urge to win a point. Focus on their feelings instead of your own when you are in a conversation.
Ask your teens what they need or want from you when in a conversation. If they need advice on something, give them one. If they simply need someone to listen to their stories, then listen sincerely. When having an argument, talk to them nicely. Do not threaten, criticize, lecture, or throw hurtful words.