You know the stereotype of the uncommunicative teenager.
The indifferent look, the rolled eyes, earbuds firmly in place, off in their own little world while mom and dad try desperately to find a way in.
It’s not impossible to communicate with your teen. There are five guaranteed methods for getting through to them.
And by guaranteed, I mean they work for me.
Sometimes. Most of the time. Hey, they’re better than nothing.
This is what I do if I really want my teens’ attention. I can call and yell and pound on walls, but that pretty much guarantees I’ll be ignored.
A text, however, gets results.
Texting is a language teens understand and respond to in a positive way.
Like a cat comes running to the sound of a can opener, or a dog bounds happily your way when you blow a dog whistle.
I’ll text my kids when they’re sitting right next to me, because I know the message will get through to them in an efficient manner.
If they’re in another part of the house, a text saves me from having to shout up the stairs or down the hallway.
Why waste my energy yelling?
Seriously, sometimes you just have to yell and scream.
They’re teenagers, after all. There are times when they just don’t understand anything else.
A little bit of shock and awe can have an impact.
You have to use this sparingly, however, because teens are highly adaptable. After awhile, they will tune out even the most hysterical ravings, and you will be left with no other option than to combine your screaming with some sort of emergency medical event, such as a heart attack or stroke.
That can get their attention, but I don’t recommend it. It’s hard to continue a conversation with your teen over the sound of the wailing ambulance.
So, go easy on the yelling.
3. Sticky Notes
Sticky notes can be tricky. You can never be 100% sure that your teen has read your message, so you have to move it around to various places in the house.
Start off with the bathroom mirror. This is the first place most teens look in the morning. If they are having a particularly harsh wakeup, a note on the mirror will either be too fuzzy to see or ignored completely.
A second sticky note can be placed on the refrigerator door or, better yet, directly on the milk/orange juice carton.
A third option might be on the side window of the car in which you drive them around, as teens love to stare out the window, thinking their angsty teen thoughts.
You have to put the sticky note somewhere where they will see it, but not be annoyed by it. That rules out putting it on their phone, backpack, makeup, body, or any other highly personal space or item.
Do NOT put it on yourself, because teens hate looking at their parents.
4. Song Lyrics
This technique requires extensive homework on your part.
First, you’ll have to sneak a good, long peek at your teen’s music collection. Write down those band names. My Chemical Romance, The Used, Fall Out Boy, Taylor Swift, Weird Al. Get them all.
Second, start your research at songlyrics.com or a similar site. Memorize key lines from your teen’s favorite songs.
Third, quote those lyrics at the dinner table, in the car, or during a game of catch!
This may confuse and frighten your teen, but you will have their attention.
Sometimes you don’t need words.
If you really want to effectively communicate with your teen, give them a hug.
It’s what they really want from you, anyway. And that one hug can speak volumes between a parent and child.
So much so, that it’s almost like minds can be read during even the briefest of embraces.
But I guarantee you that to effectively communicate with your teen in a meaningful and desirable way, a simple hug will crumble any wall of moody teenage indifference.
Once your teen is open to hear what you have to say, you can simply talk, one-to-one, in a mature, loving, and respectful manner.
Be warned, however. You’ll have to talk fast! This happy effect wears off in anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes, depending on your teen’s age and the topic of conversation.
Have fun, and enjoy communicating with your teenagers!