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  • 7 Expert Ways to Get Your Tween or Teen to Really Talk to You

    Most parents get so frustrated that they cannot seem to connect with their child, not knowing he probably feels the same way.
    by Dr. Liza Gonzales .
7 Expert Ways to Get Your Tween or Teen to Really Talk to You
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  • Communication has always been a concern among family members especially when the children become a tween and teen. Often, parents find it difficult to communicate and blame it on generation gap. Most parents get so frustrated that they cannot seem to connect with their children, not knowing that their children probably feel the same way.

    How do you avoid these struggles? A parent I coached shared the following tips that helped her millennial son whom she felt she couldn’t talk to at all. She requested me to share them with every parent because these tips helped their relationship as mother and son tremendously improve.

    If you're a parent of a big kid, use this as a guide to put down roots for a foundation of a good, positive and effective connection with your child that will last until he grows up. 

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    1. Keep an open-door policy. Your child needs to know and feel that her parent is ready and willing to listen to her at any given time without giving her the feeling that the parent is too busy. It simply means that children confidently know they can come to the parent with any issue any time.

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    2. Take time to listen. By listening first, you can gauge what they need from you. Sometimes they simply need someone to share their thoughts, and you do not even have to say anything. They may also want to get feedback for affirmations, in which case you need to try to understand where they are coming from and what would be the best feedback you can give to them. If you listen without talking or interrupting, your child can share more because you give them the feeling that you care about what they say and think.

    3. Ask appropriate questions. It shows you are paying attention. Make sure you ask questions that do not hurt them or make them feel on the defensive.

    4. Strengthen your bond by using easy conversations. Remember in some conversations you are not expected to give advice. Just allow your children to simply talk and discuss their day.

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    5. Be cautious of the language you use. Use positive words. Avoid being sarcastic and mean, negative or bored. He will appreciate if he gets the feeling that you are being kind and loving. The language you use and your reactions to your children’s words can show them how much you care.

    6. Leave no place for anger. Understandably, your child may share upsetting information. You need to know anger can stop a conversation and lead to an instant fight. It can make your child afraid to talk and he may not want to share anything with you anymore, putting a stop to your communication. 

    7. Give your children space. Avoid making your children talk more than they are willing. They may need space and communication can benefit from it. Try to simply go with the flow and soon enough, their communication skills will even get better.

    Liza Rodriguez-Gonzales, PhD, is an internationally certified life coach by the Certified Coaches Alliance (CCA) in Vancouver, BC, Canada. For questions and coaching inquiries and appointments, coachlizagonzales@gmail.com

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