The teen years are perhaps some of the most awkward and troubling
times in a person’s life. It is a time when the youth feel oppressed by
the adults and feel as though they are not understood by anyone. Though
these feelings continue on throughout adulthood, they are never so
strong and so pronounced as they are during the teen years. That is why,
if you have a teenager, you might find that communicating with them is
proving to be quite a difficult matter.
Teenagers may be vague in
their responses, they might not want to talk to you at all, or they
might get angry or irritated if you ask anything at all. At this stage,
many teenagers are certain that you will not understand anything that is
important to them, that you could never know what they are going
through, and that any advice you give will be nothing but authoritative
and not at all in their best interests. Many teenagers feel a sense of
alienation from their parents because their lives are so different from
their parents and you might feel this chasm grow between you two.
the most important thing to do is to try and communicate no matter
what. Keep those lines of communication open because chances are, your
teenager does want to talk to you, does want to be understood, but just
does not know how to come forth or does not think it possible at all.
There are perceptions already in place on both sides. Your teen will
assume that you will not understand and they will already have a
position that you will take all picked out.
For example, if your
teenager is interested in a boy or girl or in having physical
relationships or in doing drugs or trying out partying with alcohol or
various other rebellious experiments, they will already be sure that
your position will be against it and that you will do nothing but
dissuade or forbid them. With that knowledge intact, they will not go to
you about this at all and they will most likely try and hide it from
you at all costs. Now this is very counterproductive because you will
never get to talk to them about these important matters. Even if your
position is exactly as they would assume, it does not mean that they do
not need someone to talk to about it. That is why it is important to
keep those lines open. That might mean you could casually mention that
they could talk to you about anything they want to.
teenager finally chooses to open up about sensitive things, how you
handle it the first time will really set the stage for all other times
they ever decide to open up to you. Even if you feel shock and alarm and
fear at what they say, you have to try to remain nonjudgmental and you
need to make sure that you listen to them and hear them out. Do not
immediately forbid them or lecture, but instead allow them to be heard.
Nothing makes someone feel more respected than being heard and your teen
will feel as though you are making an effort to understand. Once they
notice you are making an effort, even if you do not agree, they will at
least see that an effort was made to hear them out and they might come
to talk to you about more things in the future.