So today I thought that I would teach you four sure fire ways to shut down any communication with your teenager. I am not talking about those times when you want the conversation to end, more like when you were hoping to have a conversation and all of a sudden your child shuts down and you are left wondering what just happened. You are left wondering “Why did they shut down on me?” So, likely you may have made four of the deadly mistakes.
1. You were pre-occupied. Maybe you started looking at your phone, were working on a chore and weren’t giving them your full attention. Just as that annoys you, it also annoys your teenager and they won’t feel important. So if you need to finish a task, the best thing to do is to tell them “Hey, this is really important to me. I want to give you the attention it deserves. Let me finish doing the dishes and then you and I can talk.” Even better, if possible, stop what you’re doing and give the ever elusive teenager your attention.
2. You made a comment about their looks. Maybe you made a comment they were wearing. It could be any comment they perceived as a put down. It could have been about their hair, their makeup, their shoes, anything about their appearance at all. That’s going to just shut them down right away. I’m not suggesting you let them walk out of the house looking like a prostitute but, just saying that this is a time they are experimenting with their looks and already feeling insecure so that’s a sure fire way to shut down communication. (See more about normal v. abnormal teen behavior and body insecurity on my other blog posts)
3. You started criticizing their friend or romantic interest. This is another way you will shut down communication and alienate your child from you. It will also, by the way, make that person you don’t like that much more interesting and special. Tread very lightly here!
4. You reminded them of a chore or task. No one likes to feel nagged. Reminding them of chores they need to do or some homework assignment they haven’t done or begin tasking them with anything will feel like nagging and stop any meaningful conversation from progressing. Nobody wants to have that happen and that will actually keep them from seeking out engagement from you in the future. Save reminders and task setting for times when you are not looking for deep engagement.
So there you have it, four reasons that last conversation may have stopped abruptly. Stay tuned for more tips on communication with your child!