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Effective parent-child communication has a tremendous impact on the lives of every family member. When parents know how to communicate effectively through verbal and nonverbal means, they establish a better relationship with their child. Find out how to talk to your teenager about difficult topics

Social media

Teens are active on social media. They read posts and comments. They interact with users. Many times they create their own posts, videos, and memes, and they write comments. They often hear about difficult topics on TV and elsewhere. It’s not uncommon for them to scroll to the end of an article to read users’ responses right away, without going deeper into the topic. So encourage them to dig deeper and express their views. Ask questions that encourage them to think about their arguments

Encourage open dialogue

Teens need to know that they can ask questions, test their opinions, and speak freely about various topics without fear of repercussions. Ask open-ended questions and ask them to support your ideas. Say: “What do you think about xyz,” “What do you know about this topic,” “Who do you think is at fault?” and “Why do you think that?” This will show your teen that you respect his or her opinion.

What to do when your child doesn’t want to talk about difficult topics?

Teens often avoid bringing up embarrassing or upsetting issues, especially if you are the one to bring them up first. Sometimes you may not even realize that a topic is embarrassing or upsetting until you start talking about it. If your teen avoids such conversations, try to set aside some time each day to sit quietly and talk with your child. Avoid distractions, such as the telephone. Ask him thought-provoking questions and let your teen know that you enjoy listening to what he has to say to you. This will help you strengthen your relationship with him. He will feel more comfortable in your company. There is then a good chance that he will come to you on his own when he wants to talk about something.

Keep up to date with your child’s interests. This will bring you closer to him and show that he is important to you. If your teen still won’t talk to you, look for someone you trust. You might suggest a relative, a teacher, a psychologist, or a neighbor. Indicate that you would be happy to listen if he wants to share something with you.

Psyche Zone at SWPS University – “The world from the perspective of a teenager” – Aleksandra Brzezinska

Respect the word “no”

It is extremely important for parents to instill in their children respect for people who think or do differently. Respecting “no” refers not only to sexual behavior, but encompasses much more. It is important to respect that decision and not demean someone. Tolerance is a key part of building intimate relationships.

Remain calm

While you may be shocked to know that your seemingly innocent child is considering topics that you may consider inappropriate, try to remain calm. Remember that you communicate not only with words, but also with your body posture, gestures, and facial expressions. If you show that you are shocked or upset, your teen may not open up to you a second time. Show that he or she can discuss any subject with you

Be honest!

There may be times when your child wants to discuss a topic that you know little about. When this happens, be honest and admit that you need time to learn more about the problem. You can also suggest that you look at the issue together. By doing so, you will improve your relationship with your teen. Don’t lie just to get your point across

Why is it important to talk to your child about difficult topics?

Having difficult conversations helps you maintain a close and trusting relationship with your child. By doing so, you will show that you are warm, accepting, non-judgmental and uncritical, and open to negotiation and setting boundaries. It is more likely that your teen will come to you when he or she has a problem

Try not to avoid difficult topics. By doing so, you will help your child make the right decisions. If your teen asks for opinions, tell him how you see the situation. Do not tell him/her what to do. You do not want to alienate him or her.

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Lilliana Ross

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