Hey everyone, today’s episode is an incredibly important topic, especially if you’re a parent to a teen or tween. If you’ve ever thought parenting was hard when the kids are little, I hate to tell you but it can get even more complicated as they get older. That’s why I’ve invited teen parenting coach, Laura Lyles Reagan, onto the show to talk about How to Connect & Communicate with your Teen.
About Laura Lyles Reagan:
Laura is a Sociologist and a Parent and Teen Relationship Coach - she helps teens and parents make communication breakthroughs and co-create solutions to problems to build positive futures. Laura holds a Masters in Sociology and specializes in Family Communication. She also wrote an award-winning book, How to Raise Respectful Parents.
No time to listen? Here's an episode recap:
Laura Lyles Reagan got started doing what she’s doing by working on breaking the generational patterns she experienced growing up. When studying family dynamics and the sociology of family, she discovered the communication skills that are necessary to connect and communicate with your teen children. These include open-ended questions, active listening, “I” messages, and putting it all together in a conversation that’s respectful and honors ourselves AND who our children are and their needs. Adapting these simple skills really can make a transformation in how you relate to your teen.
Often times our generational patterns, or how we were parented, comes from an authoritarian, or power-over approach. This can leave our kids learning not to talk, not to trust themselves, and not to feel their feelings, and in return, they begin acting out. If our children are not talking, trusting, or feeling, the recovery process is simply to talk, to trust, to feel. We can do this as parents with daily check-ins with our feelings, acknowledging our feelings and naming them, in doing this we’re modeling that for our kids so that they can begin to build emotional intelligence and also label what their feelings are. When you put names on your feelings, you can begin to stand up for them and talk about them. The more you feel and talk, the more apt you are to begin to trust your own reality. It creates the space in our homes for our teens to fully be who they are. As parents, if we name our feelings and need to take a minute to calm down, we’re modeling that to our kids and giving them the tools to do the same when they need to take a break and cool down as well. In short - honor your feelings, report your feelings, and create that space for our kids to also have their own feelings and stand up for themselves.
Now if you’re in spot where communication has already been broken down pretty badly with your teen, please know that you can still come back from that and repair the relationship. As laura said, every interaction counts towards transformation and this very moment is the only one that exists anyway so why not make it one of connetion and not control.
Another thing to remember is that kids listen to our actions just as much as our words. So keep that in mind as a major communication tool with your teens.
If you’re a parent who feels like your teen is not listening to you despite all of your efforts, try using “I Messages” to let your teen know how their behavoir or silence is effecting you. These messages work because they aren’t shaming your teen, they are just framing your reality and how you are feeling. Also, don’t forget to invite connection regularly by trying to include your teen in the things you’re doing.
Your next best step to communicate better with your teen is to write down a list of affirmations about your kids character or a behavior you want to thank them for. Say at least one of these affirmations to your teen on a daily basis to invite connection with your teen. It makes you a safe place and softens the conflict you may have.
If you need additional help be sure to download the conflict free conversation checklist for parents of teens where you’ll learn more about those I messages laura was talking about. You can also download the conversation starters document which has a list of open ended questions that you can use to strengthen your relationship with your teen. Be sure to check out the show notes because I’ll link everything up for you there.
Motherhood Aligned Facebook Group
Motherhood Aligned on IG
CONNECT WITH LAURA LYLES REAGAN:
Free Gift: A Conflict-Free Conversation Checklist for Parents of Teens
Course: Turn Your Teen Around
Book: How To Raise Respectful Parents