Aligning the Universe by Learning How to Talk to Your Teenager
Men and women might be from Mars and Venus, respectively, but parents and teenagers often appear to be from different universes. The same child that once thought you were a superhero now wants nothing to do with you. It can seem insurmountable to learn how to talk to your teenager. Finding ways to really connect with your teenager will take time and effort yet it is a goal worth achieving for both parties.
As an adult, we encounter many challenges in life, from projects that are delayed to car trouble to new tasks that need to be mastered. Each situation warrants attention and a strategic approach to ensure a positive outcome. How to talk to your teenager is in some ways no different than other life challenging we have overcome. What is different is how emotionally charged situations between parents and teens can become. How does all this hostile energy arise?
For the past thirteen or more years, the parent has had dominion over the kingdom known as the household. The parent’s rule is the rule of law, unquestioned. It should not be a surprise that a parent would cling tightly to each decision as though it was truly the law, because the responsibility for all of the family decisions has rested at the top for so long. In the same time period, children have been collecting feedback from so many sources regarding the best way to conduct their own lives. Once the teenage years begin, the urge to test their decisions becomes part of the path to adulthood. There is the rub – control vs. independence.
The first step to determine how to talk to your teenager is to make a conscious decision to continue the dialogue despite differences of opinion. If you give teenagers a chance to express themselves, you may indeed find that all roads do lead to Rome, though the teenage may be choosing to take a more scenic route. As in the other challenging situations, it may be best to consider using the five “Ws” and one “Y” of dialogue.
When teenagers stand their ground on an issue that differs from the parent(s), it may be best to ask them “why” or “what” makes them believe that this is the better approach. If teenagers make incredible statements, it can be effective to ask “who else” believes it or “where” they learn it or even “when” did they change their minds on the issues. Asking teenagers to explain “how” they came their stands on issues is very relevant to know before initiating any advice or judgment on the topic.
As with any two people, there is unlikely to be complete harmony on issues or approaches to life. If you truly want to learn how to talk to your teenager, coming to terms with the possibility of different views life is essential. It is impossible to hear what someone has to say it you are busy formulating a response. By using open-ended questions in the conversations with teenagers, listening and learning your teenager’s viewpoint is much more likely to occur. When teenagers realize that they are being heard, trust and openness can be re-established and true dialogue can be achieved. Sustaining an attitude of love, while building this trust may be the key to bringing two separate universes into alignment. Learning your teenager’s point of view may open up new possibilities and demonstrate how unique and capable your teen is. Nobody grows up overnight – building a brand new universe takes time. Seeing it for the new universe that it is and its potential is the magic behind how to talk to your teenager.