The National Parenting Center

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Talking So Your Teen Will Listen





• One of the most important ways to make your teenager listen to you is to listen to him. Show interest in his feelings and opinions, even when you disagree. This helps to build trust and mutual respect.

• Second, give clear messages. Express your feelings and needs directly. Giving a clear message may mean saying, “I feel hurt when you’re not honest with me”, instead of “You’re a liar”. Let your child know how his behavior effects you, instead of judging him intrinsically good or bad. Be sure to catch him doing something right whenever possible and praise him.

• Third, respect each other’s separateness. Do you want your child to be the best he can be, or the best you want? There is a difference, and knowing this difference can aid communication.

• Fourth, set limits. Let your teen know what your unbreakable rules are. At the same time, let him make an increasing number of minor decisions. Give each other a chance. Your communication can improve, starting today!

An expert in the field of adolescent behavior, Ms. McCoy has authored eleven books on the subject including the best selling “The Teenage Body Book”. Additionally she has written hundreds of articles for major national magazines. Coordinator of the Clinical Ph.D. Program at California School of Professional Psychology and Staff Counselor at the Center for Individual and Family Counseling in North Hollywood, California.

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