How to get teenagers to listen

Happy Thursday, mamas! Shannon has one teenager and I have two of them right now. And my third kid is less than a year away from attaining teen status. So we KNOW how difficult it can be to give teens advice without getting a dramatic eye roll as a response.

So when we came across this article in the New York Times titled “How to Wrap Advice As a Gift a Teenager Might Open,” published last month, we couldn’t click on it fast enough. It has some GREAT tips on how to re-frame the way parents talk to their teens.

We’re linking to the full New York Times article here so you can read it in its entirety. But here are three tips that jumped out at us.

  1. Ask permission before you give advice. Try something like “I read this great article about preparing for tests. Do you want me to forward the link to you?”
  2. Don’t start sentences with “When I was a teenager…” Teens tend to stop listening when parents start a conversation out with this line. Not only do they NOT think their mom’s teenage years were anything like their own, teens are much more interested in what’s happening now — not what happened in the Stone Ages when Mom was a teenager.
  3. Help your teen weigh options, but don’t always weigh in. Just like us, teens want to feel like they have a choice and some measure of control over what to do. So help them look at all their options and the pros and cons of each option instead of telling them that your way is the only or best way to go.

There were several other great strategies in the article, so be sure to check it out and bookmark it for future reference. Hope it helps you and your teen have better conversations.