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How to talk to teens 101

Sometimes it seems your teen is from another planet and there’s no way you will ever understand each other, right? When a conversation gets escalated quickly or they use emojis that do not make sense, communication can feel fuzzy and confusing.

Take a trip with me back to the days of braces and acne for a moment. Remember that rumor that was spread about you? What about the boy who broke your heart for the first time? That was tough, right? Your world was only as big as the walls of your high school and you truly did not know how to cope. Your teen is experiencing that same rollercoaster of drama, stress and hormones right now and they do not have the coping skills to deal with it in a graceful manner. They spend a lot of time in their heads and your advice and life lessons can get lose in translation when so much is going on.

If you feel like you’re hitting a road block when it comes to talking with your teen, there is hope! The quickest way to earn a teen’s ear is by listening. When they present you with a situation that feels big and heavy to them, it’s so tempting to give them the solution like it’s as easy as 1,2,3. Sometimes you’re able to do that, but it’s likely that they are coming to you to help validate or make sense of their emotion behind the situation. I encourage you to take a breath and just listen. Hear the emotion behind the situation and sympathize with the gravity of where they are finding themselves. This will give you an opportunity to speak life into them either in the moment if they are open to it or circling back to it at a later time when you feel like they are more open to receiving information. It’s likely that they are already very confused when they bring something to you, so it can be even more confusing to mix in possible action steps even if those steps are the path to the solution.

Often, the things they are experiencing are so confusing because it’s the first time they are faced with such monumental hurdles. Their first friendship betrayal or their first breakup is really tough! Oh, and those crazy things called hormones. Friend, the good news is that you don’t have to have all of the answers. Some times all it takes is a listening ear and a good hug to build the bridge of communication.

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