|Written by Bill Hanks|
With school beginning, teenagers will be getting more involved with their friends and school activities. ¬†Parents need to keep up on what is happening with them. ¬†This article gives some suggestions on how to talk with your teenage son. ¬†I would also say girls, but I have had more experience with boys.
The most important thing a parent can do is be a good listener. ¬†You can learn about what is going on in your teenage sons life by just listening and paying attention to what is going on.
Tip 1. ¬†Stay up at night and wait for them to come home. ¬†I discovered that many boys will tell you of their adventures on their arrival back home. ¬†If anything happened that is exciting, they will want to relate it to you.
Tip 2. ¬†Expect dramatics. ¬†If they are very excited they will be more dramatic. ¬†They might talk louder and faster. ¬†They might even exaggerate a point to get the story across. ¬†This is normal.
Tip 3. ¬†Don't question them. ¬†If you do, make it related to their story. ¬†If you jump to another topic like homework, you might never hear the true story of their evening.
Tip 4. ¬†Try to get them to sit down. ¬†This shows that you have an interest in their adventures. ¬†It also provides a chance to hear more instead of a quick statement or story and off to bed they go.
Tip 5. ¬†Don't wait till the next morning to talk to them. ¬†By then, it is a new day and last night is ancient history.
Tip 6. ¬†Don't challenge them until they are done talking. ¬†Keep them on topic as long as possible. ¬†You can always challenge them about tardiness, neglecting of chores or staying out past curfew.
Tip 7. ¬†Never send them to bed angry. ¬†You can express concern but, try not to scorn them too much. ¬†If you do, this will only prevent possible future conversations.
Tip 8. ¬†If you discipline, keep the discipline fair and on topic. ¬†Don't over react to minor occurrences. ¬†Be firm but not angry. ¬†Showing disappointment is better than anger.
Tip 9. ¬†Never belittle them in front of their friends. ¬†Wait till everyone has left and then begin your discussion. ¬†Both of you will appreciate this. ¬†It also makes it easier for you to be constructive in your discussion.
Tip 10. ¬†Make sure that your son knows the rules and the consequences in advance. ¬†You might have to review these from time to time. ¬†Rules change with age. ¬†This is why you need to review them. ¬†Your son needs to have a clear understanding of the rules.
Finally, when in trouble have them phone with no consequences. ¬†For example, if they attend a drinking party and need a ride home, have them call you. ¬†If they know they are going to get screamed at, they won't call. ¬†You want them to make smart decisions. ¬†They have to know that a parent is there to bail them out of problem situations.
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