As a parent or guardian, do you hesitate to have difficult conversations with your teens? Is it because you are not sure what to say to have them participate in the discussion? Here are some tips that will help you to have respectful and balanced discussions with those young persons that you love so much and want them to be successful.

Watch the kind of language you use: Do not give direct orders such as saying “you must do it this way”. Giving orders decrease communication and tell your teen that his needs and opinion does not matter.

Refrain from using threats: This produces fear and uneasiness and your teen may be tempted to see whether your warning will be carried out. This could potentially lead to rebellion and disobedience.

Refrain from using blame and criticism: “Where did you get this crazy idea”. This will produce feelings of low self esteem and inferiority rather than encouraging a discussion.

Refrain from name calling: I hear this a lot from parents… “Stop acting like a spoiled brat”. Your teen will feel misunderstood and may try to quit trying to communicate or respond with anger.

Refrain from giving unfounded reassurance: To respond to a concern expressed by saying “things will be better tomorrow” may communicate that you do not want to accept your teen’s feelings.

Our teens are so smart! Once you allow them to speak respectfully and really listen to them, it is amazing how they can be a part of the solution and you as the parent will find it so much easier to be engaged in difficult conversations! Open up the channel of communication today.