4 Ways to help your teen to unburden

Teenagers need time to develop themselves, discover new interests, and try fresh things in terms of pastimes and hobbies. Your teen son or daughter will journey through many different phases while slowly adopting various activities they enjoy. For you, as a parent, it’s important you can be totally supportive.


1st Way – treating your teen’s passions seriously

A good way of persuading your teen to unburden is to indicate that you are taking their various passions seriously, regardless of the fact that they may come and go quickly. The point being that you never know which interests your teen will embrace for the rest of his or her life.


Take an interest in your teen’s favorite group or music genre. Think about how the band comes across and whatthe music they’re making is all about. You can then have a meaningful discussion. Ask about what’s going on with their friends, try and keep up to date with the goings-on, and even with things that are happening withyour kid’s favorite basketball team. Though it might seem unimportant to you, you’ll find that your teen will feel much more like chatting about his or her personal life if you keep up to speed with events.


Taking your teen to one of their favorite haunts is a good idea, too. Whether it’s the seaside, the mountains, or even the local shopping mall, if you take your teen to places they enjoy and feel comfortable in, he or she will become chilled out and will be more likely to unload in places where they feel relaxed.


It will also help you to gain an amazing insight into the things your teen likes doing. This can be the precursor for my more personal discussions as your teen comes to appreciate your understanding and support. Another thing you can try is reading the same novel. My parents used to do this when I was a teen, and I remember it leading to so many fantastic conversations about fictional worlds, what the future holds, and who our favorite characters were.


Don’t limit these chats to just books. Talk about your teen’s favorite TV shows and movies, and you watch them too, so thatlater, you can reminisce over the best bits together.


2nd Way – engineering opportune moments

More often than not, it will appear that your teen is not in the right frame of mind to talk. It means that any attempts to have a meaningful discussion will just fall on flat ground, correct? Don’t you believe it. You just need to engineer the right moment.


Imagine, for example, that your teen just got home from school or hanging around with his or her buddies. Jumping on them as soon as he or she gets in the door is not a good idea. As with anybody, you need to step back and respect your teen’s private space and give him or her a chance to breathe. Those additional few minutes can make all the difference between having a good chat and your teen making straight for his or her bedroom.


Family get-togethers

So, let’s think about the best times to chat. If you play your cards right, there are three particular times that you can swing things to your advantage. Let’s talk first about family time. You ought to try and get into the habit of assembling the family together for things like eating meals or playing a multi-participant game if you’re not doing so already. By engineering family gatherings in this way, you will create a window whereby everyone has the opportunity to share some quality time and unwind.


Initially, teenagers might be slow in coming forward to use this time to unload. Nonetheless, being consistent with family gatherings is a key way of giving your teen the opportunity to relax. The second window of opportunity is during routines.


During routine chores

You must have certain routines in your life, like driving your teen to school, that present an opportunity for a casual chat. The only problem is that you and your son or daughter will be stuck in the car together, and you can all to easily make him or her feel cornered by bringing up difficult subjects. He or she is more likely to simply clam up.


Better to have a light chat when you’re together in a free space, unlike inside the car. You can chat about something like a TV program you enjoyed recently. This type of friendly banter can put your teen in the right frame of mind for more philosophical discussion. Last but not least, you need to learn to be a night owl.


The night-time hunter

Teens rather like to stay out late. It’s another opportunity to engineer another window of opportunity for a chat. But don’t jump on him or her as soon as they come in the door. Remember what we said previously about giving them a little space. Rather than wading straight in with 20 questions, offer to make your teen a late-night supper and lull him or her into doing the talking.


3rd Way – conceding the lead

More often than not, it’s helpful if you’re a good listener. Your teen knowing that he or she can talk to you on a peer-to-peer levelis important. It’s a situation that you will need to project the older your teen gets. By being a good listener, your son or daughter will feel freer to share more personal moments with you.


Never tease a teen about his or her love life. Nor should you try and prevent a certain dream from developing, no matter how ridiculous it might appear to you. Give your teen the floor but be prepared to offer up the odd question now and again so that you can nudge the conversation in the direction you would like it to go.


Here’s a little bonus tip. By selecting or asking more pointed questions, you will get a better result than by asking broader-based questions. A, “What did you do today?” inquiry is so wide that while mulling over everything that might be of relevance, your teen might just give up and come up with the classic, “Oh, not much,” sort of reply.


Alternatively, if your teen is waxing on about something amusing that went down in the science class, you could ask, “What did your teacher say to that?” or, “What happened afterwards?” You’re likely to get a more concise answer.


But how about if your son or daughter brings up something on the sensitive side? Attacking them with a load of questions right off is not a wise thing to do. Put your listening hat on and wait until they’ve finished talking, rather than intervening.


4th way – Two heads are better than one

If there is one old saying that remains true today, it is that two heads are better than one. From time to time, it will appear that you and your teen are standing in opposite corners of the ring. But, having said that, it is not that difficult to engineer situations where you can work together.


It’s essential if you are to get your son or daughter to open up and unload. Encourage him or her to take part in one of your activities, or even better, why not suggest that you take part in what they’re doing instead?


What you need to do is to make sure that you have a particular subject in mind that you are both ready to discuss. When you are playing together against an opponent you want to outscore, or if you are both working on a recipe together, trying to produce the perfect plate of food, you’re working together as a team. It’s by establishing this sort of bond that your teen will feel more inclined to discuss what you’d like to and get the opportunity to unburden themselves.


Building this sort of mutually trusting relationship will lead to your teen being able to chat to you in a way that brings down any barriers. If you’re not able to share one of your current activities, why not try something new? Sometimes it’s better to come up with something novel together. It’s a task you can enjoy and explore as a pair.


This is a worthwhile tip, as when engineering a new environment with a different objective, your teen and you will be able to circumnavigate those old barriers that used to get in the Way. It’s a fantastic opportunity to pick up something new and to see how you both react when facing a new scenario. The one constant is the pair of you.


Making chores your workhorse is an excellent way of killing two birds with one stone. It can be challenging to get your teen to catch up with his or her jobs but helping them along can generate the right atmosphere for casual chat. Achieving something together has its own rewards and can often make difficult conversations that much easier.


Both of you working on chores will not only help to make your home a better place, but it will also provide plenty of opportunities for you and your teen to chat while ticking items off against the schedule.

Author Bio:

Andy Earle is a researcher who studies parent-teen communication and adolescent risk behaviors. He is the co-founder of talkingtoteens.com, ghostwriter at WriteItGreat.com, and host of the Talking to Teens podcast, a free weekly talk show for parents of teenagers.


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