Talking to Teens about Stress

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – Communicating with your teenage son or daughter can be a challenge, especially since teens are often temperamental and unwilling to talk! But don’t stress Clinical psychologist Dr. Tim Hope gave us some communication tips.

Communication Dos
Be a good listener. If your teen is willing to share something – anything – accept it for the precious and rare moment it is. Unless the house is on fire, stop and listen non-judgmentally. Rule of thumb: Listen twice as much as you speak.
Respect her privacy. If she sees that you understand her need for private phone calls and a closed bedroom door, she may be more willing to try sharing some of her inner world with you.
Give him increasing autonomy. If he believes that you trust his judgment, and understand his need for growing independence, he is more likely to talk with you when real issues arise.
Accept all of her feelings, as long as they are respectfully conveyed.
Apologize when you are wrong. When you speak to him, keep your comments brief. Schedule time to talk about unappealing topics, such as homework – don’t catch him on the fly. Focus on what he got right, before offering constructive criticism.

Communication Don’ts
Avoid lecturing, nagging and guilt trips.
Don’t reveal to others the confidences she has shared with you. She may not risk offering you her intimate thoughts again for some time to come.
Refrain from asking questions. For example, instead of saying to him, “Why are you 15 minutes late getting home,” say “I noticed you missed your curfew by 15 minutes.” A subtle difference, but one that will meet less resistance.