One of the biggest struggles between parents and their teenage children is their ability to relate to one another. It can be difficult for the two parties to develop positive working relationships, simply due to the nature of teenage development and the process of parenting. However, parents can take the lead and make strides to develop a good relationship and strong, positive rapport with their teens, if they are willing to put in the work.
Keeping Verbal Communications Positive, Warm, and Nurturing
Negative forms of communication erode relationships. If you want to develop a good relationship with your teen, the first thing that you must do is try to eliminate negative communication from your relationship. Negative communication includes things such as yelling, nagging, lecturing, threats, and arguing. Though parents may use these types of communication to try and get their point across or enact punitive thoughts and actions on their child, they only serve to hurt their child’s self-esteem. In fact, it is universally accepted that these types of communication foster resentment, hurt relationships, and only encourage resistance. Replacing negative communication with positive communication is the first step toward building a good relationship with your teen.
How does one achieve this goal?
Begin by remembering that your actions speak much louder than your words ever will.
Speak With Actions When Disobeyed, Ignored, or Disrespected
Parents turn to yelling, nagging, and threats in an effort to get their child to behave in a certain way. These methods work, but only momentarily. Actionable behaviors, however, have an immediate and lasting impact on a teenager’s behavior. As such, speaking with action when your teen is being disrespectful, disobedient, or flat out ignoring your requests, is far more effective than yelling and shouting.
Though the goal of positive parenting is to keep the verbal communication between you and your child kind, loving, and nurturing, it is not your job to coddle your child when they misbehave. Answering misbehavior with appropriate consequences is one of the most important parts of parenting a teenager. You will find that using appropriate consequences will eliminate the need for destructive and angered communication between you and your teen.
How to Avoid Arguments
Adults argue in order to get their point across, see another person’s viewpoint, or demonstrate that they are right about a situation. Teenagers do not argue to this end. Rather, they argue with their parents with one goal in mind: to convince their parents to change their mind. Engaging with arguments with your teenager when you have made a decision about a situation is futile and only serves to waste your time and energy. As a parent, it is in your best interests to avoid all arguments with your teen. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it is possible.
The best way to avoid arguments with your teen is to simply refuse to argue. You do not need to offer your reasoning for your decisions. If your teen is interested in hearing your thoughts or reasoning, offer the information only under the agreement that the reasons are not to be discussed any further. Often times, teens will not agree to this and will cease and desist in their attempts to instigate their parents. If the situation does escalate despite your attempts to avoid an argument, use phrases that will disengage your child’s reasoning, such as “regardless” or “none the less.”
Don’t be afraid to take a time out. If a discussion is escalating to an argument and you find yourself on the edge of yelling, shouting, or saying hurtful comments, call a time out. If you are feeling emotional or out of control over a situation, avoid instituting excessive consequences or saying destructive comments by sending your teen away, and taking some time to gather your thoughts and refocus your energy.
Setting Basic Rules for Communication
It may seem as though some parents have the ability to communicate with their teens in a clear and positive fashion. Many parents have reached the goal of positive communication with their teens by setting some ground rules regarding communication. Rules regarding communication must be followed by every member of the family in order for them to be effective. As a parent, remember that you are setting an example for the ways that your teenage children and other family members will communicate. Make an effort to speak kindly and positively, and you will see that the other members of the family pick up on this and begin reflecting this same type of communication with one another.
Using the Three C’s
One of the best rules regarding communication is what is known as the Three C’s. The Three C’s are calm, considerate, and cooperative. In regard to communication within a family, the Three C rule dictates that all types of communication must be in accordance with the Three C’s. Any communication that is not aligned with these rules is not allowed, and the person who is communicating in a negative light, outside of the rule, must take a time out until they are able to initiate communication that falls in line with the Three C’s.
Remember that your child’s behavior is a reflection of your own behavior. Hold yourself to the same standards that you use to measure your teen. You will find that when you yourself are better behaved and making efforts to communicate in a positive fashion, your teen will pick up on this behavior and begin mimicking it. When communication between the members of your family is loving and nurturing, the relationships between family members will flourish.
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