When I think back to conversations I had with my parents, I sometimes cringe…
And then guess what happens in the next moment? I catch myself saying the exact same things to my kids as my parents did to me.
Like the classic, “If you don’t pick up your room, I’m going to toss everything on the floor out the window”?
If you have been guilty of repeating your parents’ phrases, don’t get too distraught over it – but recognize that these open-ended threats are not productive. And with busy teens who have classes, sports, clubs and friends taking up most hours of their day, we don’t have extra time to not be productive in our conversations with our teens!
So what to do?
Ask permission before sharing your advice. You may be thinking – seriously, Dr. Jen?!
Hear me out. Your teen thrives when they feel they have at least some control in a situation. By giving them the opportunity to say yes, you are actually opening them up to receiving your thoughts. If they say no, they are likely testing you to see how you react. Respect the boundary and watch how they either come back with a “sure” or will simply be more open to saying “yes” next time. Give them that space and respect!
How shocked will your teen be if they say they don’t want your input and you respect that? Practice these boundaries with conversations that aren’t too serious so when very important things come up and you NEED to get through to your teen, they actually recognize it is important.
This is where the old “pick your battles” advice applies.
Give it a try, and let me know how it goes.