Open Conversation with Teens

Open Conversation with Teens

As children turn into teenagers their bodies and brains change. It’s important to connect with your child during these transitions to promote healthy body image, boundaries and relationships. Here’s how you can have meaningful connections and conversations with your child.

Be a Role Model

When your child was young, you probably noticed how they watched you and copied what you did. This doesn’t change as they grow older. Children often look to their parents to learn how to think and react to situations and experiences. Showing your child that you value yourself teaches them to value themselves. Take time to practice self-care so you maintain confidence and healthy relationships your child can mirror.

Create a Space for Safe Conversations

It can be difficult to have tough conversations with your child. First, consider your own experiences. Think about how you may have felt or responded when you were their age. Is the conversation you’re having something you discussed in your home when you were young? If so, think about what worked and what didn’t.

Pay Attention to Your Body Language

When hearing something you may not want to hear, consider if your reaction may be visible on your face. Maintaining eye contact and a neutral expression will allow your child to feel comfortable and safe when talking to you. The way you speak also plays an important part in your conversation. Keep a calm, even voice and your child will follow your lead.

Practice Power With, Not Power Over

Research shows that parents who use authoritarian parenting styles had children who were more likely to be exposed to inappropriate behavior and experience harassment. Instead of trying to control and overpower your child, try to maintain an open dialogue and set expectations together. Using “I” statements with them instead of “you” statements helps keep the conversation positive and open. Setting healthy boundaries up front will keep you connected and keep your child making healthy choices about their health and safety.