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Understanding Your Teenager – exercise

Even though this a natural point in their life when they begin to distance themselves and develop their own view points, values and friendship circle, this doesn’t mean they don’t want you around.  They still want to be nurtured by you.  Setting boundaries is important but as much as possible discuss them and find alternatives that work for you both.  Allow them to negotiate, it’s an important skill they will need as an adult, so don’t look to win every encounter! When interacting with your teen, be really careful not to talk down or condescend the teenager, it enrages them.  At this age, they want respect.  Just echo what you hear and name their emotion.  Help them to tell the story as it’s important that kids at this age feel heard and understood.  However, teens may also not want to talk to YOU about it.  Be OK with this.  Encourage them to talk to someone else that they trust, journal it to release the emotions or help connect them with someone they can talk to.  Look for signs in your teen that they are withdrawn and cannot be cajoled into family banter or easy conversation.  This is a sure sign something is wrong.

Practice these active listening opportunities and look at the ways you would normally use roadblocks to shut communication down: