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  • Speaking Their Language: How to Communicate with Your Teen

    If you thought trying to communicate with a toddler was challenging, you had no idea what would happen when that toddler grew into a teenager.

    Nowadays, teens are using words and phrases that you haven’t even heard of before. They add different endings to existing words or change phrases into acronyms. It’s hard to keep up. And it can be even more challenging to communicate effectively with your teen.

    Sometimes it feels like your teen is speaking a completely different language. Here’s how you can communicate with your teen.


    There are two actions that makeup communication: talking and listening. Even if you’re the decision maker of the household and have the final say, it’s important to still let your teen speak their mind and give their opinion — in a respectful way, of course. If you take the steps and time to listen, your teen will feel more willing and able to open up to you. Once you build trust with your teen, you may not even need to ask direct questions. Over time, they may start to tell you things that are going on in their life without prompting.

    Don’t Downplay Their Emotions

    As a parent, you want what’s best for your child no matter what stage they’re at in their life. Over time, your child needs to start to try to make their own choices and correct any mistakes that they made. You can’t and won’t always be there to pick up the pieces for them.

    Plus, mistakes are a great way to let your teen learn and grow. Next time your teen is feeling down about something, it’s not your job to fix it for them. Instead, allow them to feel and let them know it’s going to be okay. Validate their feelings by letting them know you understand and are there for them.

    Don’t Get Emotional

    Teenagers can be moody, hardheaded, and disobedient. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Communicating is a two-way street. Next time your teen disobeys you, try to keep your emotions in check. It’s easy to let your emotions take control of a conversation when you’re upset. This does more harm than good.

    Explain Your Decisions

    As a parent, you have the final say. That being said, there is a way that you can work with your teen instead of coming across as the know-all, be-all type of parent. No one wants a dictator as a parent. When you make decisions, try explaining your reasoning and logic. This can help your teen see things from your perspective instead of immediately going into defense mode.

    Spend Time Together

    It can become increasingly difficult to find time to hang out with your kids, especially once they become teenagers. They’re starting to have their own lives. They may have school, extracurricular activities, homework, friendships, and romantic interests. It’s hard to find time to get together like you used to when they were younger.

    Even though it’s more difficult when they’re older, don’t completely dismiss the idea of hanging out together. Taking the time to plan meals together, go to the movies, or enjoy a hobby together can go a long way. Spending time with one another is a great way to build trust without prying too much into their personal lives.

    Next Steps

    Communication is key in any type of relationship. Between partners, friends, coworkers, and even family members. Communicating with others is a basic human need. It’s what helps to build connections and form and strengthen bonds.

    Communicating with a teen can look a lot different compared to the other communication styles you hold in your life. Communicating with your teen doesn’t have to be challenging. It is possible to speak their language and connect with your teen again. Reach out today and learn about teen therapy and to see how we can get you and your teen on the same page again.