reach out- teenager

When your child was a baby you were happy to see them cute. You gushed over them and marveled at the unravelling of their character as they grew up. You two were probably very close but as the years progressed they drifted away. What happened? Behold, they are now a teenager. You may find it that you’re talking at rather than with each other. So how do you get through to your teen without fighting?

Ditch The Lecture

When you voice your concerns in the form of a lecture, your teenager immediately goes into ‘block’ mode. Be careful not to use a hostile tone. Let it be a conversation instead. Swap abstract scenarios for real-life situations. Include experiences from your own life but not to show you were better than them at their age. This creates a safe space for them to share what they’re facing, not just now but in the future too.

Stay Calm

As a parent you are naturally concerned for your child. The ‘parent alarm’ tends to go off when your teen approaches you with a concern. In your opinion they may be too young to have a love interest, for example. Don’t lash out by saying they should focus on their studies and forget ‘trivial’ things. Listen calmly before responding.


When your teen opens up to you, don’t respond immediately with a solution to the problem. Focus on how they feel. You could repeat back to them what they’ve said, like: “You’re anxious your best friend hates you because you missed her birthday party.” This shows you’re really listening and care about their feelings. Don’t overdo it though, it comes across as fake.

Casual Chats

Break the usual face-to-face discussions. Use informal moments like a day out shopping or while riding in the car to initiate discussions. Remember to keep it relaxed and friendly to encourage them to share.

Have an Open Mind

Unmet expectations breed frustration. We can’t control how people will react when we interact with them- it’s no different with a teenager. Setting rigid expectations about how conversations will go can frustrate you if your child doesn’t respond as you had hoped. Just let things flow naturally. This creates an atmosphere for authentic interactions.




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