Talking openly and honestly with your parents can be extremely difficult during adolescence. Often, what would be considered a very casual discussion can escalate into a shouting match, leaving both the child and adult feeling hurt, frustrated and misunderstood. Here are a few tips on how to talk with your parents so they will listen:
- Try to choose a time when your parent is relaxed. Trying to talk to them when they are rushed, tired, or in the middle of a big project is a bad idea. Parents are usually pretty receptive during car rids, mealtimes, or any other time of day they appear to be relaxed and attentive to what you have to say.
- Try to keep your conversation as specific as possible, such as sticking to one issue at a time.
- Try to use “I” statements when talking about your feelings. Remember your feelings belong to you and you are the only one who can verbally express what’s going on inside you.
- Listen to your parent’s point of view. Hear them out before you jump in on the conversation. It may be helpful to repeat back to them what you heard them say. This will clarify the message so that both parties are clearly understanding the content of the conversation.
- Learn to monitor your body language. Actions speak louder than words, so remember to keep your emotions and behavior in check when you are communicating. This includes your voice tone, facial expressions, and your body movements. For example, don’t try to listen to a Walkman during a conversation. This behavior may appear to the other party as a sign that you are not interested.Please remember that communicating is an ongoing process and will get easier with practice. Remember that your parents are older versions of yourself.