Saturday, April 28, 2012

Improving Your Communication With Your Teenager (Part 3)

Over the past 2 posts I have given four helpful suggestions to parents in order to improve their communication with their teenagers.  They were:

Remember that mutual respect begins with listening!

Don't treat their problems lightly!

Enter Your Child's World!

Be willing to keep secrets!

Now let me give you 3 final suggestions to help you improve your communication with your teens.

Do things together that they enjoy doing.  When I was in youth ministry I had a dad come in and tell me how distant his relationship with his teenage son had become.  He asked me what he could do to turn things around in this area.  I asked him what was one thing that his teenage son loved to do.  The answer was "skateboarding."  His life revolved around his skateboard.  So I encouraged this dad to find a way to do something regarding skateboarding with his son.  He did.  He and his son built some really cool skateboard ramps together and made an almost mini skateboard park together in their backyard.  This dad came back in a few months later and told me that his relationship with his son was never better as a result.  Do you want to improve communication with your teenager?  Do things with them that they enjoy doing.

Ask their opinions.  I remember being outside with my dad my freshman year of High School.  We were throwing catch with the baseball.  At the time our family was going through a very tough time that dealt with our church.  Dad and I were talking a little about it.  All of a sudden my dad asked me this question, "What do you think we should do?"  I couldn't believe it.  This was a very serious and tough situation for my family.  A lot was at stake and my dad was asking me my opinion about it.  I have no idea what opinion I gave him that afternoon but I will remember until the day I die that my dad asked my opinion.

Ask good questions.  If you only ask your teenage son questions that can be answered with a "grunt," you will only get a "grunt" out of him.  If you only ask your teenager daughter questions that can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no," you will likely only get a "yes" or a "no" out of her.  Ask questions that require more than a one-word answer.  This may mean planning ahead.  You know when you are going to have time with your child.  You know when you will be driving them somewhere in the car or sitting around the dinner table together.  Take time in advance to think of 2 or 3 questions that you can ask them at those times that will require more than a "grunt" and more than a "yes" or "not" to answer.


1 comment:

Nicole Bradstreet said...

i pray with all my heart and that you and laura will stay through my kiddos teenage years! we're gonna need ya! At the very least to be prayer warriors! =)