Improving the way teens and parents talk to one another is critical to reducing the opposition to many things, including family therapy. Teen communication is a collaboration between the child and the parents. What can you do to improve that bond and your communication skills? Find out today at Foothills at Red Oak at 866.300.5275.
The Truth Be Told
Parents need to learn to lead their conversations with the truth. Children, especially teens, are more perceptive than people give them credit for, so if parents lie to them, they may know it.
It’s better to start any communication by telling the truth and getting directly to the point. That also means telling them everything when possible. Hiding things from teens means they have to fill in the blanks themselves. Chances are, the stories they create will be more dramatic than the truth. Open up, be honest and get to the point to make communication with teens more beneficial and respectful.
Be an Active Listener
Active listening is a term our therapists often use in our family therapy program. It means being an active participant in the conversation. Some ways to be an active listener include:
- Putting aside any potential distractions like phones
- Making eye contact, lean in, and smile when you can
- Not interrupting
- Avoiding making judgments verbally or with body language. Don’t cross your arms mid-conversation, for example. That sends a message of disapproval.
- Ask questions if you need clarification. It keeps you from making assumptions and lets them know you are paying attention to what they say.
Parents are not the only ones that need to practice active listening. Ask that your teen does it as well during the conversation.
Don’t Make Assumptions
It is easy when talking to teenagers to assume the worst. If their room isn’t clean, don’t assume they were lazy. If they got a poor grade, don’t assume they were not listening in class.
When parents are reassuring and caring, even when something bad happens, it will encourage your teen to talk to you about anything. If you blame them for everything, though, they will try to hide things from you.
Feelings make some people really uncomfortable. Sharing them with others, especially parents, can be difficult. If you dismiss their feelings, you may embarrass them or make them feel less important. It’s essential that you empathize with how they think and then work together to create a solution to the problem.
Don’t Lose Your Temper
It is easy to let your emotions control the conversation, especially if you are angry. As an adult, it is up to you to take charge of your emotions and not let them get the better of you. One outburst can ruin any progress you’ve made with your child.
If you get angry, take a few deep breaths. It’s okay to talk about the problem but do it in a controlled manner.
Get Teen Therapy Services at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery
At Foothills at Red Oak Recovery, we understand how important it is to talk to your teen. We offer services such as family therapy to help rebuild relationships that can suffer because of substance abuse or mental health problems.
The other services we provide include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Trauma therapy
- Art therapy
- Equine therapy
The Foothills at Red Oak Recovery campus is a 94-acre horse ranch, so we offer plenty for our clients to do, including caring for animals. The Foothills at Red Oak Recovery program is open to teen boys ages 14 to 17.