Creativity,  Family,  Serenity

How to Talk to Teenagers – the Ultimate 10 Step Advice

Be clear in your communication – avoid misundertandings

  1. Be clear. I mean really clear: “Take the jacket lying in front of your feet and take it to the hanger in the entrance.”
  2. Don’t forget to mention the time frame: “Now”.
  3. Don’t use more words than necessary: “Please be so kind to take your jacket and hang it on the assigned place”, is not working! They don’t know where to find the jacket and they have no clue where to bring it.
  4. Repeat.
  5. Stay calm and repeat again.
  6. DON’T use more than one request at a time: “take your jacket and your shoes is NOT WORKING”.
  7. Repeat: “Take the jacket lying in front of your feet and take it to the hanger in the entrance NOW.”
  8. Go on to the next: “Take your shoes lying in the middle of the living room and place them in the shoe rack in the entrance.”
  9. Ignore the question, why you haven’t told them both at once.
  10. Tell them how much you love them – now you have their full intention for the important stuff! (“What do you want, mum?”)

Do you feel like talking to a 2-year old?

Even, if this sounds like talking to a two-year old, I assure you, there is nothing wrong with your teenager. Really not. It’s just that their brain is working differently during this period of their life. The brain degenerates old connections and makes new ones. Sometimes making these new connections takes more time than cutting the old. The lap in between is where we experiencing them less responsive, not to say difficult. Beside the missing connections there are a lot of stimulating hormones, which suspend them to an emotional roller coaster ride.

I searched for more knowledge and bought the book “The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide To Raising Adolescents and Young Adults” by Dr. Frances E. Jensen and Amy Ellis Nutt. It’s a substantial scientific work about the functions of the teenage brain compared to an adult brain. As the writer is a neuroscientist herself, she combines her studies with the experience as mother of two boys in the according age.

It gives a lot of details, not only about the function of the teenage brain, but also about Learning, Sleep, Drugs, Stress, Anxiety and Risk Propensity. Even though we haven’t luckily experienced a lot of it yet, I’m grateful to know, what to expect and also what to address upfront. Teenager don’t like TALKS, but I started to tell his father what I learned in the book at the dinner table. This guarantees me at least a bit of attention. Having read a book doesn’t mean that we always react right or know what to do, but at least it helps to have awareness for situations, which may happen in the future.

Love is all you need (and patience and more patience).

In the meantime, stick to clear instructions combined with infinite love – only a couple more years until you’re done. Lucky you, if this is the last teenager leaving the house. 

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

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