The suicide rate in teens has risen 60% since 2007 - C.D.C
Are you experiencing a lot of grunts, rolled eyes, one-word responses, and quiet?
Don't worry; this is typical.
The moment you think your child has reached an age when you can have deep, meaningful talks with them is the moment they cease doing so altogether.
Having a family member who only communicates with you when they want something or to tell you off may be pretty annoying and unsettling.
Yet, learning tools and techniques to effectively communicate with your teen is crucial for their well-being.
In our recent article, 11 Methods To Redirect Defiant Teens, we cover how vital it is to spend time with your teens, even if they don't want to (we have tips for this too.)
Teens are at an all-time high risk factor for addiction, depression, anxiety, and suicide making teens harder than ever to talk to.
However, there are several things you can do to boost the odds of engaging in meaningful conversation with your teenage housemate.
Here are 13 Ways To Get Your Teen Talking:
1. Listen + get off your phone
Sounds obvious right?
Yet, the average American was never taught the principles of true or empathetic listening.
Teens often avoid talking to their parents because they believe their parents ignore what they have to say.
A common concern I hear from parents is that their kid needs to engage in meaningful communication with them.
The first thing that comes to me when I think about it is, "How frequently do you say nothing while you're with them?"
Most parents try to engage their teenagers in conversation by lecturing them. Parents are uncomfortable with their teen's seeming unwillingness to engage in conversation, so they search for the magic words to break the ice.
It's easy to see why someone may react this way, but it won't help. You must open up communication channels with your teen if you want to hear from them.
It's time for you to be quiet now. Which implies there could be nothing spoken at all.
You may help your teenager communicate better by listening to them when they do so.
Understanding what your adolescent is saying requires active listening.
When you listen, you aren't just waiting for your turn to speak or thinking about what to say next.
To listen attentively means considering all the feelings and thoughts the other person is sharing.
Oh yea - and get off your phone.
If your teen is finally talking to you, even if it's a self centered cause like asking for money, put your distractions away. Give them your complete focus.
A part of them is still that little child you once held so easily in your arms. That child that was showered with attention and praise for even the most minor accomplishment.
So when they go to that same person that used to shower them in focus is now buried in a phone and barley listening - their inner child pokes out. It is subconsciously confusing.
Your teen may act big and tough and seem to know it all, but it's your job to know better.
They are very much still a child that needs their parent to listen.
Remember how attentive you were when your child said their first words?
See if next time they speak, you can listen to them with that same extreme curiosity and excitement to hear what they say - with no judgment or attachment to what is actually said!
2. WHY NOT ASK IMPORTANT QUESTIONS?
Parents should prioritize hearing what their teen has to say to encourage communication with their adolescent.
Asking pertinent questions is the next most crucial step.
A good question is one that both clarifies the teen's thoughts for you and encourages them to elaborate on the tale they're telling.
Please don't bother me with the whys. Questions. Initially, asking your teen, "Why?" may put them on the defensive.
It's doubtful that your adolescent would open up to you if he constantly needs to defend or explain himself.
Another reason "why" questions aren't always the best move is that they're usually looking for an explanation as to why something happened, which can be unproductive.
Your adolescent will attempt more of something they aren't very good at if you ask them why.
It's far better to ask them questions they can quickly answer, such as those that require them to explain the situation—asking questions like "What," "When," "Who," and "How" are great ways to get your teen talking.
3. STAY AVAILABLE
Teenagers are notoriously bad at sharing when asked. Only some things are likely to succeed than scheduling daily 15-minute chats with your kid.
It's unrealistic to expect your kid to give you a quick rundown of their life events if you set aside time for a scheduled appointment.
You are spending more time in your teen's company, in general, increases the likelihood that they may open up to you.
Refrain from assuming that this means you should do nothing while waiting for your adolescent to discuss it. In contrast, completing life's mundane tasks near your kid opens doors for them.
Sharing is more likely if they feel comfortable opening up to one other, and just hanging out at home may do that.
Your teen may want to chat with you at an inconvenient moment. You may choose to connect with your adolescent and delay your plans, or you can ignore them and carry on with your day.
Assume that your adolescent will only be willing to return if you put off whatever you had planned to accomplish if they would prefer to do it at a different time.
In these cases, check in with your adolescent as soon as possible.
4. TAKE PART IN DAILY CONNECTIONS
Make it a point to talk to your teen at least once daily.
Make it a point to interact with your kid every day, even just for a moment.
This will reassure your child that you are there and that you care. Even on hectic days when everyone is on the go, check in with your adolescent before bed to wish them goodnight and inquire about their day.
If you know you won't see your adolescent that night, try to catch up with them first thing in the morning.
Every day, you should talk to each other and make sure everything is well.
Don't be disheartened if your adolescent only responds with a grunt or a one-word answer 99 percent of the time.
Maintaining in touch with them lets them know that you are there for that 1% of the time when it really counts.
5. Don't Be Shy - Talk about yourself
Instead of constantly asking your adolescent about their day, try filling them in on what you've been up to.
As you do this, don't attach yourself to the idea that your teen will react with rapt attention and stellar active listening skills; they won't.
But they may take what you say to heart and, more significantly, recognize over time that what you're interested in is a connection that goes both ways, as opposed to a relationship in which you learn all there is to know about him, and he remembers nothing about you.
Important Note: While opening up to your adolescent about yourself may strengthen your bond with them, avoiding disclosing any "heavy" topics that your child may not be emotionally prepared to handle is essential. Confessing your deepest, darkest secrets to your adolescent is not the same as telling those same tales to your closest confidante. Feel free to share, but make sure you're being reasonable and kind in what you reveal.
6. Please DON'T INTERROGATE ME
No one is willing to talk to a questioner.
Don't be shocked if your teen stops opening up to you if you have a habit of asking them a million questions every time they tell you something.
As tempting as it may be for you as a parent to want to know everything and attempt to make sense of what your child is telling you, remember that doing so may make your teen feel threatened and invasive. Several of your questions are excellent, but there are just too many.
Rather than playing 20 questions to keep your kid talking, try practicing "active listening" by offering remarks of understanding and empathy. Eventually, you'll have to accept life and make the most of it.
While it's understandable that you'd desire more information, remember that pressing too hard might lead to far less in the long run.
7. CUT IT OUT WITH THE INTERJECTIONS
When a parent latches onto a teenager's words and then rushes off into a tale about their own life, they hijack conversations.
You certainly have been the target of a chat hijacking at some point. When someone remarked, "Oh, I know exactly what you mean," during a conversation, think back to that moment. I experienced something similar to that.
The perpetrator then gave you their story for the following ten minutes.
Most hijackings happen because the perpetrator wants to prove they get the other person's point. However, they express self-centred contempt rather than empathy. Conversations end when someone tries to take over the topic.
When parents interrupt their adolescent's chat, it's game over. Do deep thinking before opening your mouth to share your life story with your adolescent.
Would you rather hear what you already know from your adolescent, based on their experience with the topic, or learn something new from them?
WE Hope You ENJOY THIS ARTICLE!
If you want to get your child more joy, confidence, and clarity on the next chapter of their life, just apply here.
8. STOP MAKING A BIG DEAL OUT OF IT
Indeed, it is essential to show that you have taken the information presented to you thoughtfully.
And indeed, it's great to respond enthusiastically and mimic your teen's joyful or negative feelings about the news. However, there is no need to display overt emotions such as gleeful or angry hysteria.
Young adults expend a great deal of effort maintaining an emotionally low profile.
They could feel it's not worth their time and energy or struggle to tell you anything important if they think you're going to make a huge deal out of everything.
9. DO NOT FEED THE SNAKES
Sometimes, your adolescent will intentionally try to elicit a specific response from you.
For this purpose, they will say or do things that they knows will elicit a reaction from you that will serve his purposes.
By manipulating their parents into hostile outbursts or constant arguments, teenagers provide evidence for the stereotypes they hold about their parents.
Common examples of this line of thinking are, "My parents don't understand me and are always shouting at me!"
There is a severe lack of familiarity and understanding of who I am and what I stand for among others around me.
Your teen is less likely to open up to you and talk if you continue to offer him reasons to believe this.
Stop and reflect on "what did your adolescent do or say that caused your response?" if you become irritated with them or in an argument.
The teen's actions or language that first irritated you should have a pattern that you can recognize.
Find out what your adolescent is doing to get under your skin, and then figure out a technique to deal with the behaviour that doesn't require a verbal reaction.
However, with the right amount of preparation and self-control, you may learn to disregard your adolescents' taunting and lessen the degree of antagonism and conflict in your home.
10. PICK YOUR MOMENTS
Timing your conversations with your teen is also an effective tactic. So, to enhance the likelihood of striking up a discussion with your adolescent, consider the following window of opportunity:
In The Car
There are plenty of chances to bond with your adolescent if you're the type of parent who views "mom's uber service" as a second job.
You and your lchilddsssssss can enjoy some private time together while commuting. They won't be interrupted or overheard by anybody in the house.
You're both anticipating the future, which makes the situation less tense and unpleasant. Take advantage of the situation currently.
Since you've let your guard down, bed is a wonderful place to relax and feel protected.
Teenagers are more comfortable talking openly in this setting, and they tend to want to stay up longer.
Sit down with your teen sometimes when they are alert and ask how they are doing; you might be surprised by the answer.
Doing an Activity
Many young people nowadays prefer not to have meaningful conversations through the traditional medium of sitting down together over a cup of coffee.
Keep your minds off of the talk and on the task at hand, and you'll find that the conversation will flow more easily as you work together.
Instead of talking face-to-face, try moving to shoulder-to-shoulder.
Traditional family mealtimes that include everyone sitting down together and sharing a meal are a great notion, but adolescents frequently view them with skepticism and opposition.
With teenagers, it's best to keep the dinner informal, such ordering takeout or eating toasted sandwiches on the sofa, before attempting to share the meal.
When Your Teen is Ready
Your adolescent will open up to you when they are ready.
This is not going to happen at a time that is convenient for you, and it probably won't happen at all.
However, prioritizing our children's needs is an integral aspect of being parents. In other words, if your adolescent approaches you for conversation, you should offer them your whole focus.
11. Don't Judge
Sometimes it may seem like your adolescent is actively attempting to drive you crazy.
The same bothersome and aggravating behaviors and attitudes recur daily, which makes it easy to be judgmental and critical of your teen.
It's unlikely your adolescent would want to open up to you if most of your conversations with their centre on criticism, disapproval, annoyance, or correction.
Teenagers are more resistant to being taught and less likely to open up to their parents when they perceive their parents to be constantly on their case.
If this is a recurring problem, consider keeping a list of little irritations that don't warrant an elaborate rant.
Meanwhile, try to remember to add a few upbeat comments to your usual discussion.
12. Think About What's In It For Them
Teenagers are often egocentric. That's not a secret.
Make the most of this time by having meaningful conversations with your teen about issues that are important to them.
Talk to them about the bands they like, the video games they play, and the sports they watch.
Asking is good, but it's much better to show interest in your teen's interests by participating in them together.
You don't have to fake an interest in your adolescent's favorite activities, but you should try to learn more about them and appreciate them if you truly care about them.
Learn more about their likes and dislikes by inquiring about their favorite items. Get their help in learning a new skill.
Focus your praise on the specific skills or information they has. Observe their processes, and then utilize those as a jumping-off point for a discussion once they're done.
13. SPEND LOTS OF TIME TOGETHER
You are busy. Your teen is busy. Life is busy.
This doesn't take away from the fact that healthy quality time with your teen is one of the most effective ways to connect, reduce defiance, and improve your child's behavior.
In our recent article, 11 Methods To Redirect Defiant Teens we cover effective tips to creating quality time with your teen.
As you schedule some quality one-on-one time with your adolescent, note that it doesn't have to occur weekly. It might happen once a month or once a semester.
But make an authentic effort to accomplish something memorable with your teen when the right moment comes.
It may be anything from a day spent shopping to a weekend camping or even simply an afternoon spent playing board games at home.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure it's something that both you and your adolescent will appreciate.
Spending quality time together like this helps to strengthen your relationship with your adolescent and opens up avenues for open dialogue.
So simple, yet vital.
Keep note that you don't want to go into these events thinking you'll hear your teen's darkest secrets revealed. Make it a pleasant and stress-free experience, and if something unexpected occurs, deal with it as best you can.
No matter what happens, you and your adolescent can have a fantastic time together and may even have strengthened your bond for the future.
When teenagers act out, it's tempting to place blame and spiral into disappointment or depression.
BONUS - ASK FOR HELP
If you're having negative thoughts, resist the urge to withdraw, and locate someone to professionally help you.
We specialize in life coaching teens and youth to help them find where they are, where we all would like them to be, and how to get there effectively.
Teens today are not the teens from even 15 years ago, and it is incredibly easy for them to fall into the negative and harmful traps of modern day youth culture.
Effectively directing them away from the negativity and to a bright, promising future can sometimes take a team.
In the meantime, try these methods and, above all, give both your teen and yourself the grace and forgiveness to make mistakes along the way!
IS Your Teen Needing More?
You may have a problem on your hands if your child's disobedience has become extreme, has persisted for more than six months, is out of proportion to their age, and is hurting your and your child's social and academic life. When kids have serious disobedience issues for more than six months, they should see a teen life coach or even psychiatrist. A kid may be diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) if they consistently resist, disobeys, and act antagonistically toward those in authority positions.
If you want to see how our innovative coaching can dramatically improve joy, confidence, and clarity in your Child's Life, simply apply here: