Parenting Tips

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Effective Communication With Your Teen

As parents, we want the best for our children and it pains us to see them making choices that can lead to disastrous consequences. The following tips may be helpful while CONSULTing with our teens.

The word ‘CONSULT’ has been used as an acronym and serves to tell our teens that we would like to deal with them with respect.

C are for their needs – With the ever changing times, needs of today’s teens also changed. Forget about the past. Focus on present trends and be mindful to keep up with new technology, new products and who knows what . . .

O bserve house rules – Whatever their age, it is always good to set house rules for the teens to follow. Allow exceptions though when the situation calls for it. Examples would be late nights when there is a party to attend or increase in hand phone bills due to project work.

N urture their strengths or interest – While it is important to pursue academically, do also allow your teen to engage in something that they are passionate about. Encourage their hearts and focus on inspiring them to excel on what they do best.

S upport their activities – From secondary to junior college or polytechnic level, there are a lot of activities, besides school work. Show support in whatever they are doing. Who knows, you will also learn along the way. As mentioned earlier, parents need also to keep up with the times, especially the educational aspect.

U nderstand their emotions – As juvenile as it may be, this is the world they live in. Whatever emotion they are experiencing is real and it is important to not discount how they feel. Be empathetic and genuine in our conversation and let them know we understand how they must feel.

L isten readily – In Singapore, we live in a world where we are taught to have answers for everything and quickly fix the problem. When spending time with our teen, it is important to really listen to what they are saying. It is time to put to rest all the thoughts that might be racing through our head about how we can fix their problems. It is not solutions they are seeking. Sometimes, they just want us to hear what they are saying and genuinely care about their situation.

T rust them to trust you - In today’s youth culture, adults also have to earn both trust and respect. It is extremely important that we do not compromise our integrity and are true to our word. Do not laugh at how they handle a situation or mock at them privately or publicly. As long as a teen is not being hurt or hurting themselves, it is vital to keep our conversations confidential. Teens need someone they can rely on and confide in.

So parents, do take a moment to break away from your busy lifestyle and take your teen out for a bite to eat, a walk on the beach or a bike ride in the park. Underneath that thick skin or hardened attitude is a kid screaming to be loved and listened to.

CONSULT with them. You will be glad you did!


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