The art of conversations with teenagers, especially over tricky topics, takes a little practice but is not as hard as you might think.
Whether you need to talk about sex, drugs, bullying, or more, tricky conversations with teens require a little practice but don’t always need to result in a blow up between you and your child.
Here’s how to have a good conversation with your teen, no matter how challenging the topic…
1. Have faith in yourself
Be self-assured in your ability to hold a good discussion with your child. If you are too afraid to bring up a particular subject, your teen will likely pick up on your anxiety around the topic and opt not to openly talk about it with you.
2. Try not to gossip about others
Unless the conversation needs to be about your teen’s friends, boyfriend, girlfriend, peer group, etc, try not to bring them into the conversation.
3. Ask questions
Instead of stating facts during the conversation, ask your teen questions – and answer any of their questions in return.
4. Pay attention and don’t interrupt
This is the most crucial aspect of every interaction but especially conversations with teenagers. Take note of what is being stated. A conversation will stall if you are preoccupied with something else you would rather be doing. Listen carefully, and pertinent questions will naturally arise.
5. Do not be concerned about lulls in the talk
This is the point at which you can add your own thoughts to the conversation.
6. Recognise that not all conversations will go well
It’s not your fault if a conversation goes off the rails… it happens. Your teen may be distracted, lost in thought, unwilling to contribute, or simply having a bad day. Even if they don’t speak or listen, it’s still a good idea to engage them in conversation.
7. Recognise when the talk has come to an end
Know when your child no longer wants to talk about the issue or topic. Try to end the conversation on a positive note, and reaffirm your teen that they can come and talk to you at any time should they want to discuss the issue further.