Tips for Talking to Your Teen: Communication Styles
Talking to teens can be difficult. There are mixed messages, moods, and hormones. Sometimes it may feel like a losing battle. But, at the end of the day, teens need connection and communication, especially from their parents. The way you approach your teen and how you talk to them, may make a huge difference in how the conversation goes (or doesn’t!). Being aware of our style of communication, especially with those we love, is important.
There are four main types of communication:
Each communication style can be applied and adjusted to serve the purpose of conversing with your teenager. Although teenagers are, by nature, trying to differentiate themselves from the pack, they tend to mirror or mimic others’ styles. This can be applicable to communication as well. Here are the four types of communication:
This speaks for itself for the most part. People who use this style of communicating are dominant and demanding. They consider their own needs and not the needs or feelings of others. They can be mean, yell, or be physically invasive. Typically, this style is associated with being mad. Teens may appear or act aggressively when communicating sometimes, especially if they don’t feel heard. It is important to be aware of our own emotions as parents, and to not respond aggressively out of anger.
People who have a passive style of communicating struggle to speak up for themselves. They avoid conflict and have trouble saying no. Physically, they may shy away from others and avoid eye contact. With angry teens, sometimes parents may want to be passive to avoid a fight. I encourage you not to do this. Be gentle, but firm with an angry teen. Disengage without letting them take over.
This may be a favorite among teenagers. (Or maybe it is just my favorite, ha!). Passive aggressive communication can include indirect, sideways, and sarcastic tones. Individuals tend to know what they want to say but struggle to say it directly. Body language is a big factor here. Demonstrating how you feel physically while communicating something different verbally can be confusing. Be direct with rules, consequences, feelings, and intentions as a parent.
This is the healthiest way to communicate! Being assertive means speaking up for yourself while considering the needs of others. Show your teen that their voice matters, but also that they need to be respectful to adults. Maintain eye contact and have neutral posture. By modeling assertive communication, your teen can learn a lifelong, much needed skill from you.
If you are struggling with communication, Begin Counseling here in Katy, TX!
If you or your teen is struggling, there is hope. A trained therapist can help facilitate healthy communication. If you are ready to gain tips for talking to your teen, Melissa Barton can help! She assists adults, young adults, teen, and families enhance their relationships. To begin counseling in Katy, TX follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to get more information about counseling for anxiety.
- Meet with Melissa.
- Find ways to decrease anxiety.
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Melissa Barton offers counseling services for people of all ages including: depression treatment, treatment for anxiety, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. Melissa strives to regularly post blogs with helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and our counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!