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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Practical Parenting - Communicating with your teenage child

My son turned 13 this year. So far (touch wood) he has not shown any signs of rebellion, moodiness or giving me the silent treatment.However, being a parent of 4, I've read up on and learned from the experiences of my friends and relatives who have teenage children on how to communicate and deal with teenagers . Here's a list on how to "Talk" and how to "listen" to our children. Hope you find them useful!

 Be careful with your tone of voice and choice of words as
these may distort the message.
 Encourage your child to talk by asking “open ended”
 Bring up topics in conversation that your child knows more
about than you do. This will not only encourage
conversation, but also boost his confidence. ( Try to watch
a couple of TV shows that are popular with your children
or read up some of their favourite books so that you have
topic to talk about. I like to watch Pokemon, Powerpuff
Girls and other cartoons with them.)
 When discussing issues on which you and your child may
disagree, use “I- words” rather than you-words.”
 Pick the best time to have your conversations, depending on
the importance of what you want to communicate to your
child and your child’s frame of mind. Begin the
conversation in a causal, non – confrontational way.
 Try to have at least one meal together as a family (and
switch off the TV) so that every member of the family can
communicate about their daily happenings.
 Try to spend individual time with each of your child so
that he/she can tell you things that he/she find too
personal to share with others.
 If possible, join the PTA program offered in your child’s
school so that you can keep track of the events that affect
him at school. (Recently I got to go along with my eldest
son’s class to attend a play, not only did I get free
entertainment, more importantly, I met his friends and form
teachers and learned how he generally relates to his

 Pay full attention when your child talks to you; don't try
to read the paper or do your housework. When you listen to
him, listen to the nonverbal cues as well as to grasp the
message completely.
 Ask appropriate questions and repeat what you think is your
child is saying to be sure that you are getting the message
 Give appropriate verbal encouragement as your child talks,
and end your conversation only when your child is ready to
end it, not when you are.
 Take your child's concerns seriously and show respect
through your language and demeanour.
 Keep an open mind. Recognise that you and your child will
not agree on everything.

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