The book in the picture, "How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk," by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish is one that I found very helpful. The blurb inside the front cover says, "Parents will discover: how to express their irritation or anger without being hurtful, ways to respond helpfully to their teenagers' concerns, skills that encourage a teen to cooperate and assume responsibility, alternatives to punishment that help teens face their misbehaviors and make amends, how to resolve conflicts peacefully, and how to take advantage of small opportunities to talk about sex and drugs."
That is a lot of information. The book is laid out in a simple, easy to read way that even includes cartoon dialogue. I found the section on feelings particularly helpful. They state, "Instead of dismissing feelings, identify thoughts an feelings. Instead of ignoring feelings, acknowledge feelings with a word or sound. Instead of logic and explanations, give in fantasy what you can't give in reality. Instead of going against your better judgment, accept feelings as you redirect unacceptable behavior."
CNN journalist Kelly Wallace wrote an article recently about talking to teens. The part of the article I liked best was about learning to keep your mouth shut long enough to listen.
"The second grave error parents make, Vicki Hoefle, author of the book 'Duct Tape Parenting,' said, is we talk too much. We need to, quite simply, shut up, and maybe 'put duct tape over' our mouths.
'It's like, Oh my god, do you just have to be so smart all the time? Can't you give your kid a chance to be the smartest one in the room? And there's an attitude about stepping back and allowing your child to be the star in the show. That's what secures you a place in the next conversation.'"
I often find in my own household that if I admit I don't know the answer to something my teens might be asking, it goes a long way to communicating authentically with them. Rather than always trying to solve their problems, when I don't know what to say, I admit I don't know what to say. They accept that answer easier than I thought they would.
Don't be afraid to talk to your teens. They need to communicate with you even if they don't know it yet. To read all of Kelly Wallace's article click on the link below.