5 Communication Tips for Parents and Teens

I am preparing for a DiveCommunication tips for parents and teenrsity Day at Evergreen High School on Friday. I have been asked to present Mediation benefits to these high schools students. I am beyond overjoyed to educate the next generation about the benefits of this alternative form of conflict resolution. In researching for instructional material for kids in high school, I ran across an article by Kori Rodley Irons, that I have borrowed heavily from. I think that these five tips are extremely helpful in the area of Parent and Teen conflict.

1.  Avoid Unnecessary conflict. This is the same thing as saying, “Pick your battles”. It is easy to get locked into a conflict that in the scheme of things, doesn’t really matter.

2. Choose your words carefully.  Learning to speak to your teen, as you would another adult, is easier said than done. But this is an empowering method of communication. If the conversation or argument is too heated, waiting for a cool down is a good idea. Words cannot be taken back. Bad stuff sticks around–perhaps forever.

3. Negotiate, Accommodate, and Compromise. These are all tools to be used at the appropriate time. Once again, these don’t work well while in the throws of a heated argument. But once a conflict has dissolved to a moderate discussion, then negotiation can begin. There is no shame in a parent giving in when a teen may be right or have a reasonable point of view. Being able to admit a mistake and make a sincere apology are important skills for any parent and teen. It can help to build trust, and for the teen, set a good example from which to model accommodating adult behavior.

4. Let go of the past. Once a problem has been solved, let it stay in the past. This could be part of the compromise–that both of you agree not to bring this up again. You know what it feels like to have something thrown in your face from the past. It feels lousy. So don’t do it to someone else.

5. Assert Authority. For the parent, this is your last resort. The “do or don’t do this, or else” threat. But be prepared to make good on your words. This is for emergencies and dangerous situations. This means to draw the line and assert that you are, in fact, still the parent.

Parents: Who do you want your teen to become?

Teens: Do you want your parents to treat you with respect?

Both questions can be answered by carefully communicating through your conflicts. Listen to each other. Respect each other. Honor the agreement made.

Additional reading from The Guardian for communication tips for parents and teens.




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