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  • Bradley Hospital Parenting Guide: Parent/Child Communication

  • Children and Teenagers: How to Talk So Your Parents Will Listen

  • Bradley Hospital Parenting Guide: Parent/Child Communication

    In this guide:

    For kids and teens: How to talk so your parents will listen

    For parents: How to talk so your kids will listen

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    Talking with your parents isn't really very different from talking with your friends.

    Think about it. The friends you like the most probably are honest with you, show up on time when you have someplace to go, know when to back off because you need some space, and don't try to act like people they're not. So you respect who they are, care about them and like to be around them.

    Communication Tips

    Parents and teenagers can have the same kind of relationship. If there seems to be a breakdown in communication with your parents, try these suggestions:

    • Say what you mean, and be specific. Don't say, "I hate French. The teacher's a jerk, and everyone is flunking," if what you're really trying to say is, "I know this will upset you, but I got my French grade today, and it's terrible."
    • Try not to be defensive. If your mom asks what time you'll be home, don't assume she thinks you're sneaking around or doing drugs. She is probably concerned about your well-being, and knowing you'll be home at a certain time eases her worry when you're not at home.
    • The same theory applies to your dad. If he asks you who's driving you to the concert, don't assume he thinks all your friends are irresponsible and so are you. Knowing where you'll be and who you're with makes it easier for him to give you more freedom.
    • Give your parents a chance to think things over. It isn't fair to ask for something you want if you need an answer immediately. Allowing extra time also shows your parents that you think the issue is important enough to deserve attention from them.
    • Don't put your parents in the position of guessing what is important to you. Tell them and make sure you think things over first. If everything you bring up seems crucial, your parents will be confused about your priorities.
    • Try to pick a time to talk that is good for you and for your parents. If they can't talk to you at that moment, it doesn't mean they're not interested. Ask them to suggest a time that's better for both of you.
    • Introduce your parents to things you enjoy. For example, if there's a new group whose music you like, ask them if they want to hear it. Tell them why you think it's great. It will be a refreshing change for your parents to learn from you.
    • Give a copy of this to your parents. It might help them to see things more the way you do.