When communicating with teenagers, keep this sentence in mind:
“Please think about what you just said to me.”
Sometimes that simple statement can diffuse a lot of emotion and distractions.
On the other hand, here are some important, teen-tested statements that will kill off communication and should be avoided at all costs:
• “Who do you think you are talking to?”
• “Why did you do that?”
• “What were you thinking about?”
• “How could you be so foolish or selfish?”
• “Don’t use that tone of voice with me.”
Communication is critical, so it helps to know and avoid these “killer” phrases when attempting to keep those lines of contact strong with a teenager.
Focusing on the positive is always the most effective way to go, though it can take a great deal of self-discipline on the part of a parent, who sees so clearly what needs to be changed.
If you can take the time to listen carefully, move the conversation in a positive direction, and avoid phrases that can turn a teenager stone-cold in an instant, you’ll find it is much easier to keep the lines of communication open.