Parents have the same goal, to successfully parent their teen into happy and healthy adults. The most important parenting skill you will need to do this is effective communication. If you can effectively communicate with your teen, you can move mountains - or at least get them to clean their room on a regular basis. This free parenting class is set up for you to go through one lesson a day in five days. Once you incorporate these lessons into your talks with your teen, you will see an improvement in getting your teen to come to you when they need help, follow your rules and limits and be less stressed.
What You’ll Learn below?
- Our working definition of effective communication.
- What happens when you effectively communicate with your teen.
- Why effective communication is the number one parenting skill for successful parents.
In order for you to understand what effective communication can do for you and your teen, you need to understand what effective communication is and how it differs from just talking with your teen. Effective communication is the exchange of thoughts, ideas and information using both verbal and nonverbal cues so that each person understands and is able to act on what has been communicated in a way that seems appropriate and/or favorable. When parents communicate effectively with their teens, teens are able to form a firm foundation to grow on because they can trust that these three things are happening:
- Their parents are actively listening, showing teens that their concerns are being heard.
- Their thoughts, ideas and feelings matter to their parents, even when teens don’t get their way.
- The message they are receiving from their parents is clear and not riddled with mixed signals.
Because these three things are happening when you effectively communicate with your teen, other problems, circumstances and daily struggles can be solved more easily. This translates into less stress for each of you, but also less stress in your relationship with each other. At this stage of your child’s life – where your teen is gunning for independence and you aren’t sure when or how much to let go – anything that helps reduce problems and stress in your relationship is worthy of your time to learn. In my opinion, this makes effective communication the number one parenting skill to know.
Did You Know?
Routines offer parents and teens a sense of security in their daily lives. When you establish a routine of communicating with your teen - it can be as simple as saying good-night at the end of the day - you are strengthening their sense of security.
Today’s Assignment: Start Listening, For Real
The goal for this five day parenting class is to teach you the tools to effectively communicate with your teenager. But, it is you who will need to do the practice. Start right away with our first assignment… yes, there is homework!
Practice your active listening skills with anyone and everyone you meet today. Not thinking about something else and giving the person who is talking just one of your ears. This will be you listening to those around you, for real. It’s a good habit to get into and you will begin to see a noted change in how others communicate with you, almost immediately. Continue to practice throughout the next month until it becomes your nature to actively listen to everyone, but especially your teen.
Signs You Are Having a Respectful Conversation with Your Tween/Teen
I’m often writing about how not to be disrespectful when you talk with your teen. This article is based on checking to see if you are doing it right and being respectful. There are signs that show you if you are having a respectful conversation with your teen. Here are five that I often use:
- You both want to be there. Even if you are talking about a tough issue. You both want to talk about it and want to convey your thoughts to the other person.
- You are using your active listening skills and she is responding to them.
- Although the conversation may be heated, you are using a tone that says "I care about saying this to you and you are an important person to me."
- You are able to back off if your teen wants to keep something private.
- You are able to allow your teen to have a different point of view than your own and do not continue to try and 'win' the conversation as if it were a debate.
Nonverbal Communication Cues Parents Can Use
When talking with your teen, it is important that your non-verbal communication cues support what you are saying verbally and not get misconstrued with how frustrated you are at work, for example. No one wants to talk to a grouch or someone who isn’t really paying attention, which is what your nonverbal cues could be saying to your teen. Here are five actions you can practice to keep communication with your teen positive and ongoing:
- Use an upbeat tone of voice.
The intonation, volume and pitch of your voice can change the whole meaning of your words. Using an upbeat positive tone of voice will get you more attention than using a pessimistic tone of voice.
- Use eye contact when listening to your teen.
Eye contact shows the person who is speaking that you are interested in what she is saying and encourages more communication.
- Smile as much as possible.
Research shows that the face is the primary mode of communicating a person's feelings and the act of smiling can even boost a person’s feelings. So when you smile, it will uplift your attitude toward what you and your teen are talking about, as well as your teen’s outlook on what you are saying.
- Use open gestures.
Avoid finger pointing, crossing your arms and putting your hands on your hips. More positive movements like leaning forward and nodding will encourage your teen to share more about what she is thinking.
- Don’t be afraid to touch your teen.
Hugs and goodnight kisses are still important, although your teen may wish to be asked first. Hold her hand when she needs to be consoled or give her a pat on the back when you are praising her. These touches convey our unconditional love for our children and should not be stopped just because your teen has gotten older
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