Tips for Teens: Talking to Your Parents So They Will Listen

Portrait of FamilyThere are plenty of teenagers out there who feel like their parents don’t listen to them. It can seem hopeless – like they just don’t get it. If this sounds familiar to you, here are some tips about how to talk to parents so you are more likely to be heard.

  1. Regularly initiate communication with your parents – not just when you want something or you’re frustrated with them. You will probably find that they will “bug” you less if you are talking to them regularly.

  2. Be honest.  If your parents catch you in a lie, they will have a hard time trusting you in the future and they might start to feel like it’s pointless to listen to you.  Trust, like a precious vase, is easy to break and difficult to repair.

  3. When the conversation is about something important, make an “appointment” with your parents during a time when you can all give it your full, calm attention.  If things get heated, ask to take a break and come back to it when emotions have settled.

  4. If you want to vent to your parents about a problem, but you don’t want any advice from them, let them know in advance that you just need a listening ear.

  5. Know what you want to say before you sit down to have a talk with them.  If you need time to think it through, let them know this and tell them when you think you can get back to them about it.  Explain the details of the situation clearly and factually.  You might want to write it all down and practice it before approaching them.

  6. Make sure your parents have understood you by asking them what they think you mean.  If they’ve misunderstood you, explain it to them again in a different way.

  7. Really listen to your parents when they are talking to you and try to understand their side of things. Restate what you think they are saying or how you think they feel and ask them if you got it right.

  8. If your parents just don’t seem to “get it” or they seem out of touch, ask them what it was like for them when they were your age.

  9. Give your parents time to think things over and don’t expect them to give you immediate answers – especially about really important or new things.

  10. Always try to keep in mind that, underneath it all, most parents want their children to be happy, safe and successful.  Their intentions are good and they have your best interest at heart, even if it doesn’t always feel that way.

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