Teenager Issues – Getting Them To Listen

October 21, 2009 by

Teenager issues abound and one big one is getting them to listen to adults.  We have a solution for you to actually get a teenager to listen.  The perilous journey of adolescence is a time of tremendous change, anxiety and frustration for teenagers and it can be difficult for parents as well. Parents often find their old methods of disciplining and raising their children falling woefully short. You may have discovered that your teenager is not as compliant or that your strong-willed child is flat out rebellious. So what can you do with adolescent problems like this one?

First, recognize that adolescence is a developmental stage where teenager issues will come up inevitably and dealing with teens is a challenge. During this time, your child is driven to learn about intimacy and relationships not academics. They are “practicing adults”, not yet capable of full self-sufficiency. The way teenagers learn to be adults is by pulling away from their parents to find their own identity. They will explore the world more and more on their own terms. This is the nature of this stage. Parents can ease their own anxiety by recognizing this developmental pulse as normal.

Second, if you want your teenager to listen, model it first. Be curious about your teenagers thinking, feelings, ideas and adolescent problems. If they don’t want to talk, tell them what you “imagine” they might be thinking and allow them to respond. Knowing that you have a clue about what they might be going through often opens the door for them to express their feelings.

Third, avoid the temptation to interrupt, interpret, or make comments. Instead, check to make sure they feel listened to and
understood. If not, ask them to clarify until they feel understood.

Teenager Issues On Listening – Parting Shot

Lastly, ask if you can share your thoughts. In dealing with teens, it is almost universal that teenagers will listen when they feel “heard” first. Be careful not to judge or criticize. They will stop listening. Instead, state your concerns as questions. Ask—“How will you handle…?” or “what are your thoughts about…?”  Then follow with your comments about what you might do differently. End with, “I hope you’ll give it some thought.”

Learning to listen first gives your teen the feeling that you are safe to talk to about their struggles and problems. Paradoxically,
they will return the favor and you will have less problems with your teen.

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