Topical Tuesday: Communicating with Teens

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Community Manager

Topical Tuesday: Communicating with Teens

Another Tuesday, another topic! 


This week, we are chatting about communicating with teens - what works, what doesn't, and all the challenges and joys this brings parents. 


A while ago, @Sophie-RO shared a great link to an article called Why your grumpy teen doesn't want to talk to you 

 I'm interested to hear if this resonates with any of you and is helpful at all? Have a read and let us know what you think. 


Communication can become super challenging and confusing when your kids turn into teenagers... let's pool all our experiences together and share questions, struggles and insights. 


Some questions to start us off: 


Whats the biggest challenge you face in communicating with your teen?


What's a successful way you’ve been able to communicate with your teen? What’s worked?


Please add your own questions around this topic as well! 

I'll be adding further resources, responses, and questions as the week goes on! 


Community Manager

Re: Topical Tuesday: Communicating with Teens

Would love any of your inputs here! 

@HarryNeate   @taokat @Sister @sunflowermom @Schooner @Orbit64 @hippychick @Zoesplace @Rowanna @jdbza @Watermelon @Sailing @Kerry36 @Violet79 @Renee123 


Tag anyone else that you think might like this - all of you have so much insight and expertise to offer us and each other! 

Prolific scribe

Re: Topical Tuesday: Communicating with Teens

Our communication with our 15 yr old son was non existent all summer. 


I finally came up with the idea of the Talking Stick. I'm not even sure where I heard of the idea. 

I understand some of the North American Indians used a talking stick for important discussions. 


The person holding the stick is the only person allowed to speak. They talk till they are convinced they have got their point across. Then they pass the stick to the person that they want to talk next. Then it continues.


I suggested this idea to my son well in advance of a planned discussion, said that I wanted to hear his point of view on the problem that had surfaced that week, gave the stick to him and listened. The first time it was only the two of us and it worked well. We tried it a couple of other times, with three of us involved. It did not work as well, as neither of them (my son and wife) were quite willing to let the other have their say without interjecting (often).


It worked well for a while. Particularly considering any attempted discussion usually involving him starting to yell within 30 seconds to 1 minute and walking off out of the house, not to come back for at least a few hours. Using the talking stick got us talking for a while at least.  

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Topical Tuesday: Communicating with Teens

Such a great topic @gina-Ro and one we've all struggled with at times I'm sure! I love that article @Sophi-RO posted and they are all really valid reasons I feel for our teens not to want to talk. I know if my daughter thinks I'm going to be annoyed or feels I won't understand, she won't open up to me. Or if she does and I do get annoyed, I realise that's why she'll retaliate then storm off angry, feeling unheard. 


I've found if I can listen without reacting or interrupting, the conversation is way more productive and my daughter is way more inclined to share openly and honestly with me. I've had the comment back to me when I haven't been able to listen - "why ask me to talk if you don't even want to hear what I have to say???" A very valid point she makes! I know how frustrated I become when she doesn't listen to me or cuts me off to back chat.


Things work better for us if I show her the same respect in conversation that I want shown to me. I think it's leading by example and modelling what we'd like to see in our teens, including apologising if I've yelled or interrupted or said something I shouldn't have, regardless of whatever she's said or done. This repair has been a huge one for us. 



Community Manager

Re: Topical Tuesday: Communicating with Teens

hey @Orbit64 thanks for sharing that - communication certainly isn't easy and it sounds like it's been challenging in your family - but so good that you've tried something a bit different. 

I have heard of the talking stick idea before too, and as you've said, it only really works if everyone agrees to use it as intended - and to not talk over the top of other people. 

Maybe with a few more tries it might get easier? 
It's a great idea for more difficult conversation as well. 


Community Manager

Re: Topical Tuesday: Communicating with Teens

Hi @taokat thanks so much for sharing that - not interrupting can sound so obvious but it's so so difficult! 

It does all come down to respect hey - such a good reminder that even as parents, we have things to apologise for at times! 



I thought I would share this link to the ReachOut Parents website on Communication with Teens  - there are some videos from other parents, and some articles on what works! 


Any other insights, or practical tips, or challenges, people might want to share please do . Smiley Happy

Community Manager

Re: Topical Tuesday: Communicating with Teens

@HarryNeate I thought I would link you in here, to see if you wanted to ask your question: 

" trying to stay connected with your teen when they've walked out . What's the best way - messages , trying to hunt them down , and what to write - ???!!"


That is such a tricky one, and probably needs a unique answer in any  situation .. is this something you've experienced? 
If your teen has left home, it really depends on your relationship with them and how you used to communicate when they lived at home. Have you tried any of those options? Messages, face to face, phone call? 



Community Manager

Re: Topical Tuesday: Communicating with Teens

We're going to keep this discussion going another week, and move to fortnightly discussions to give everyone an oppurtunity to contribute. 
Please have a think about what you'd like to discuss and let us know over here. 


For now, I thought I would link you to our communication page where there's a bunch of useful stuff to check out: 




Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Topical Tuesday: Communicating with Teens

I love these resources created by ReachOut @gina-Ro, and thoroughly recommend parents have a read! There are some fabulous ideas and techniques to try that anyone can use. 


Scrolling through the forum topics I came across this thread started by @MeJane that I thought gave some great insight and tips from other parents about teens and communication. 


I've also come across another great resource from the Victorian government's Better Health Channel, titled Teenagers and Communication (RO approved link). It talks about how our teens are on that road to adulthood and gives tips on how we can effectively communicate and parent whilst travelling that road with them as opposed to butting heads the whole journey.

Star contributor

Re: We want to hear from you - what discussions would you like?!

Communication with my daughter is something I have definitely had to work at.  I thought we used to communicate well but what I learned is she was just telling me what I wanted to hear so I would leave her alone.  But over the course of the past 4-5 months she has learned to really trust me.  Therefore she has opened up in great detail and honesty. But sometimes we have to brace ourselves for what we hear without too much emotion and reaction. For my part I really work on only listening and not try to solve or give advice so quickly.  I have let go of things that I feel are not that important in the big picture and picking my battles.  Our communication has bloomed with lots of patience, less pushing and more letting go.