Tips for Good Parent-Teen Communication

December 15, 2022by Shari Markovich

It’s no secret that parenting a teenager can be difficult. Teenagers are going through so many changes—physically, emotionally and mentally—and it can be hard for parents to know how to talk to them and connect with them. This can lead to frustration for both the parent and the teen. If you’re struggling with parent-teenager communication, or if you just want to learn how to communicate better, read on for some tips!

Be an Active Listener

Active listening includes actively paying attention when your teen speaks and engaging in conversation without judgment or criticism. The key to communication with youth is to make sure you are actively listening by putting away any distractions like your phone, stopping what you’re doing, and focusing on what your teen is saying. Active listening also involves not just hearing but understanding what your teen is saying and responding with encouragement, compassion and support.

Avoid Loading Them with Questions

Many parents want to know what their children are thinking but bombarding them with a flurry of questions can push them away. Instead of overwhelming your teen with a ton of questions, try open-ended conversations. Ask your teenager questions about themselves that allow for longer answers and explore the boundaries of what they are willing to discuss. Also keep in mind that one-on-one conversations as opposed to talking when others are around can lower tensions and help you both stay on topic without distractions or fear of embarrassment.

Speak on Interesting Topics

One way to improve parent-teenager communication is by choosing interesting topics to talk about that your teenager will find engaging. Doing research on movies, music, and other interesting aspects of their world that they enjoy can be a great way to start conversations. Ask any parenting therapist and they will tell you that developing a trusting relationship with your teenager is all about getting out of your comfort zone and being willing to talk about their passions, dreams for the future, or even their everyday choices.

Don’t Jump to Conclusions

To ensure that you’re better able to understand one another and build a relationship, it’s important not to jump to conclusions. Listen to what your teen is saying, instead of jumping in with a pre-conceived assumption about the bottom line. Try to withhold judgment until all the facts are laid out in front of you—this will give both you and your teenager an opportunity to reach mutual understanding.

Praise Your Teenager

Lastly, a great way to enhance your parent-teenager communication is by praising your child whenever possible. Praise works wonders to boost their self-esteem and remind them that they are appreciated and valued. Be sure to be genuine though! If you come off as insincere or like you’re trying too hard, your teen can see right through it. An easy way to start this is by reminding them of things that they’ve done well or said that made an impression on you.

Contact Family Matters Centre for Teen Counselling Services

Communication is an essential part of parent-teenager communication. At Family Matters Centre, we offer teen counselling services in Burlington that can help improve communication with youth. By providing a safe and supportive space, teenagers can express their frustrations which will enable them to build skills like reflecting on their behaviour, establishing personal boundaries, becoming more aware of the consequences of making decisions and communicating better with their family.

If you’re looking for a therapist for teens or a parenting therapist in the Burlington, Hamilton, or Oakville area, call us today at (905) 466-8023 or fill out our contact form to request an appointment.

by Shari Markovich

Shari is a Child Therapist who has worked with children and adolescents for more than 20 years. She uses a variety of counselling modalities, including Theraplay®, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and Family Systems. She is motivated to work with children and parents so families can function in healthy and supportive ways.