1. Parenting
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Day 4: Dealing with Tough Issues Using Effective Communication

Learn to Communicate Effectively with Your Teen in 5 Days


Parenting Class Quick Links: Index | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

What You'll Learn Today

  1. How effective communication helps parents deal with the tough issues teens face today.
  2. How parents use their influence when it comes to values, expectations and tough issues.
  3. Tips for getting conversations started.

Effective Communication Helps Parents Deal with Tough Issues

There is no question that in today's society our teens face very tough issues. They need their parents to be on their side. You can help your teen face anything and show him that you are on his side by using your effective communication skills. It really is as simple - and as difficult - as communicating your love and expectations consistently and frequently. Open lines of communication, setting clear expectations and rules and knowing that you are there to talk to gives teens a box full of helpful tools that they can use to combat anything that may come their way. And if they forget which one to use, well, you're there to ask, right?

You can make tough issues easier for your teen to handle by being available, being open and askable and talking to them about it. Parents are their teens' greatest influence when it comes to family values, expectations and choices concerning tough issues like sex and drugs. This makes it imperative that parents communicate their values and expectations effectively and as often as possible. Here are the most effective ways:

  1. Modeling the appropriate behavior. Do what I say and not what I do doesn't work.
  2. Using your nonverbal skills as well as your active listening skills.
  3. Sending a clear message. State your values and expectations clearly, so there is no question as to how you feel.

Get a Conversation Started

Some parents get nervous at the thought of talking to their teens about sex, drugs, preventing pregnancy, dating violence, etc. It is understandable. But the only way to get past the jitters is to get through it once and then talk again, and again… Here are a few tips:
  • Spend time with your teen. If your schedules are hectic, schedule in time doing something your teen likes to do.
  • Don't expect too much of yourself. You needn't give pearls of wisdom or worldly advice. Listen more than talk and your teen will respond.
  • Use the media to bring up topics. Watch what your teen is watching and read what your teen is reading. Tough issue topics come up in the media all of the time. When you use these to talk to your teen, it takes the personal edge off, since your aren't discussing anything that is actually happening in their lives.
  • Admit to your teen that you are nervous to talk to them about these issues, but you still feel it's important to do so. This will show your teen that you are willing to be there for him and talk about anything even when it makes you uncomfortable.

Today's Assignment: Practice! Practice! Practice!

What does your teen like to watch and read? Choose one thing and watch it or read it with your teen. Pick an example of a tough issue in the book or on the show to talk about with your teen. Remember to actively listen to your teen's opinions.

Recommended Articles in Today's Lesson

Parenting Class Quick Links: Index | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.