Becoming a parent is a beautiful and exciting experience for most people. You are the number one person to this little human being—and there’s something fulfilling about that. Then come the teen years. Parents often talk about how their teens no longer want to talk to them. Their teen is only interested in spending time with friends. Sound familiar? This change is actually pretty normal. But despite their growing independence, it’s still very important to have conversations with your teens about issues that arise in their daily lives. Though these discussions may sometimes be uncomfortable, they are necessary to build trust and an open line of communication.
What Topics Should I Be Discussing with My Teen?
Stay engaged with your teen by having “the talks.” Some of the topics of conversation that parents should have with their teens might include:
- Dating and Sexuality
- Current events, like the COVID-19 Outbreak
- Gender identity, race, religion, and values
- Building Friendships and Other Relationships
How Do You Start Uncomfortable Talks with Your Teen?
Conversations with teens involving sensitive topics can be difficult, especially if the parent is not sure of what to say. You definitely don’t want to force the conversation. Sometimes the best way to bring something up is when a particular subject comes up as you’re going about your everyday life. Your kid might ask a question that can prompt you to expand the conversation. Maybe a topic comes up on the radio or TV while you’re both around. That may be your perfect cue. To help put your teen at ease, you can also start by sharing an embarrassing story of of your past. Like anyone, teens need to be able to feel safe when they share their fears and concerns.
Most importantly, parents should model what healthy relationships look like. This means developing stable relationships with family members, friends, classmates, and teachers. A healthy relationship is one where there is mutual respect and no one feels less than anyone else.
To learn more about raising happy, healthy teens, read Hospitality Health ER’s four-part series here: I, II, III, IV.