The National Parenting Center

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Communicating with Your Teen

Sometimes teens would rather hear us talk less. We need to show that we care with our eyes, touch and body language. Sometimes a hug or an arm around the shoulders will help a teen feel he or she can tell you what is on his or her mind. Today’s teens have a lot more to worry about than we did at their age. Your son may be worried about AIDS or about whether he ever will have job security. He needs to know you are on his side and willing to listen.

Here are some tips gleaned from 100 families about improving communication with children:

* Talk less, listen more.
* Avoid heated words. Delay a confrontational discussion until everyone is calm.
* Never forget what you were like as a child.
* Give children a fair hearing. If you blow up before you hear the whole story, be
ready to apologize.
* Finding or making the right time to listen is vital.
* Say it with love. Even when words won’t do, you can show affection with touch.
* Value your child’s opinion, even if it differs from yours.

Remember that your long-range goal is to be a friend when your teen grows up. Friends make the time to listen, talk, and show affection. Even if you are frustrated, show him you understand that today’s teens have a lot more to worry about than we did at their age.

Evelyn Petersen’s nationally syndicated parenting column is carried in over 200 newspapers twice each week. As a family/parenting consultant, early childhood educator, Head Start consultant, and host of a series of parent training audio and video tapes, Ms. Petersen employs an approach of providing hands-on, nuts and bolts advice to parents across the country.Evelyn Petersen’s nationally syndicated parenting column is carried in over 200 newspapers twice each week. As a family/parenting consultant, early childhood educator, Head Start consultant, and host of a series of parent training audio and video tapes, Ms. Petersen employs an approach of providing hands-on, nuts and bolts advice to parents across the country. You can read more from Evelyn at her web site: www.askevelyn.com

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