Self Care Savvy Blog

Getting Your Teen to Talk

Ways to make conversation with your teen easier

A common complaint among parents is how silent their kids go whenever they enter the teen years. While there are some that stay well connected to mom and dad, it’s not uncommon for the teen years to be a time for kids to talk more to friends than to parents.

LEARN TO ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS

Do you find that asking questions like “how was your day?” elicits nothing more than a one word response?

Some questions sound robotic, almost like the speaker is following a script. If you want your teen to talk to you, the first step is…

-ask something other than the standard “how are you doing?” type of question
-steer clear of yes or no questions
-ask questions that will open up real conversation i.e. talk involving a topic your teen wants to engage in

TALK LESS, LISTEN MORE

Teens usually have interests and thoughts on all sorts of things. And if you ask them about these topics and are genuinely interested in hearing what your teen has to say, chance are they’ll tell you. THE KEY IS TO TALK LESS THAN YOUR TEEN. Even if your teen has an opposing opinion than your own, learn to listen. If teens feel heard by parents, they will usually be more likely to engage in conversation.

AVOID JUDGEMENT

Note that avoiding judgement does not mean accepting a view that differs in value or belief. For example, your teen may feel attending church is no longer important, but religion is one of your values. How then can you avoid judgement whenever your teen tells you he or she doesn’t believe church should be mandatory?

–LISTEN: allowing teens to express how they feel on an issue gives you insight into their thought process.

–ACKNOWLEDGE: “I can understand how going to church might not feel important to you right now in your life” is a good example of acknowledging a teen’s position. This doesn’t mean YOU don’t feel church is important, you’re simply saying you can see how your teen might feel how she does.

–BE AUTHENTIC: If you don’t understand your teen’s view, you don’t have to act like you do. Teens are pretty smart at sniffing out adult BS. So even if you don’t understand, you can still acknowledge. Saying something like, “I never felt that way about church, but I imagine this is a common feeling among teens” is a good response. This way, teens feel their opinions are important to parents.

–AVOID POWER STRUGGLES: Once we acknowledge a teen’s position on a topic, we can disagree without getting into a power struggle, which makes communication on difficult topics easier and more comfortable to have. “I understand you don’t want to go to church right now. Dad and I have the rule that you go to church while you’re still at home, but we understand that when you get older you might make a different decision for yourself. We might not agree with that choice, but we will respect it.”

BE CURIOUS

Music, social media, TV shows…teens are usually on the cutting edge of what’s hot and what’s not. Ask your teen to show you how to use filters on Snapchat, play the latest Harry Styles’s song, or ask about the plot to a popular Netflix series. Teens are used to being told things…let THEM be the experts on something. You might find you learn something new and bond with your teen all at the same time.

MORE HELP?

Communicating with our teens is an important component to a healthy, peaceful family life. Teens who feel that they can communicate with parents are more likely to share the good—and the bad.

Need help learning more skills or have a challenging relationship with your teen that could use some work? Contact me @281-900-6918 for a free consultation to see if counseling can help move your family toward a more peaceful home life!

3 Ways to Lower Election Anxiety

3 Ways to Lower Election Anxiety

November 8th cannot come soon enough.

That’s the sentiment I hear from a lot of people.  Regardless of who a person is voting for, the consensus seems to be “enough already”.

Chances are, you already know if you’re going to vote and, if so, who you’re going to vote for.  You already have a set of beliefs about the candidates, so at this point getting any more “information” about this election is pointless.

So how then can a person manage to get through the next few days without being bombarded with talk of politics?

  • Turn off the television

Yes, I know.  It’s tough.  Almost like turning away from a wreck.  You don’t want to look, but you just can’t seem to help it.  However, the constant political chatter is simply noise at this point.  Nothing new is going to be said or done, so you’re not missing anything.  Actually, the quiet can be very calming.

  • Limit or get off social media

Unless you actually love to debate politics, social media is not the place to be around election time.  There will inevitably be those friends who have to constantly comment on any and everything political. Or, they’ll comment about how disgusted they are that you would vote for_____ (fill in the blank with either candidate).

If getting off social media seems extreme, consider blocking these political minded people from your feed.  You’re still friends, but you don’t have to read every thing they post.  Once the election is over, you can unblock them if you choose to.

  • Focus on what you have control of

It’s very easy to get caught up in fear.  We can easily become convinced that the world will go to hell if such and such candidate wins.

The fact is, we only have so much control.  We can vote.  We can pray. We can work hard to make sure our lives are the best they can be. We can work to help others.

Focusing on what we do have control over can help us regain a sense of perspective and hope.  Whoever wins this election, his or her control should not be allowed to extend to our daily living.

 

As we get closer to a new era in politics, it may help to hold on to one truth.  Regardless of who this country inaugurates in January, your family, your life, and your beliefs are your own.  And YOU, not anyone else, has the power to change that.

 

 

 

Teen Coping Skills

Teen Coping Skills

 

Looking for some healthy coping skills for your teen?  Following are some awesome ideas for things your teen can do whenever stressed or depressed.

  • Listen to music
  • Go for a walk
  • Take a warm bath or shower
  • Color
  • Draw a zentangle
  • Drink water
  • Meditate
  • Laugh, laugh, and then laugh some more
  • Watch a movie
  • Call a friend
  • Do some deep breathing
  • Work a puzzle
  • Read a book
  • Drink a cup of hot tea
  • Eat a piece of dark chocolate
  • Play a word game
  • Journal
  • Doodle
  • Pray
  • Sit in the sun for 5 – 10 minutes
  • Stretch or do a few yoga moves
  • Play with an animal
  • Write a letter
  • Blog
  • Read a magazine
  • Work on a vision board
  • Light a candle
  • Watch puppy, kitty, or laughing baby videos on YouTube
  • Be in a room with other people
  • Make a meal
  • Dance to fun music
  • Paint your nails
  • Give yourself a facial
  • Talk to someone you love
  • Look at pictures
  • Make a scrapbook
  • Blow bubbles
  • Play with play-doh
  • Sew, knit, or cross stitch
  • Create a gratitude list
  • Be creative–paint, draw, color, write

Whatever your teen does whenever stressed or depressed, encourage them to do it offline whenever possible.  The internet is full of interesting things, but much of what teens are exposed to online, especially via social media, can actually increase their stress.

Have a coping skills you want to share?  Additional suggestions are welcome!