Equal and two-way communication ── cognitive changes

Puberty is a critical period for cognitive development. Teens are building their own   cognitive style which is very different from that of a little kid.  The “this-is-an-order” approach becomes ineffective.

Hence, communication should be equal and in two-way. That is, parents can express their views, and so as the teens; communication should be effective, parents can give opportunity for teens to express their feelings.

Communication: How to have talk to teens 

Communication issues  What parents can do
Teens’ daily activities and life experiences 
  • Express your concern
  • Share your views like a friend or a big brother/sister instead of a parent
  • Listen carefully and try to understand, even when it is difficult
  • Encourage your teens to talk about his or her experiences and raise questions to help them learn more from the situation.
  • Don't rush to make judgment or offer advice - for some situations, teenagers may not need a solution from an adult, but just a listener as they can work out the answer for themselves.  A very small problem for an adult may be a huge dilemma for a teen; avoid saying, "Just deal with it."  Instead, ask your teenager if he or she needs help.  
  • It is alright if the teens do not agree with your views
Teens participation in challenging activities e.g. rock climbing
  • Encourage teens to participate in the activities they enjoy - don't pigeonhole them into a single activity
  • Through  participation, they can experience the challenges and learn how to protect themselves
  • Initiate sharing after activities
Teens participation in community services 
  • Encourage participation
  • Initiate sharing after activities
Parents’ own life experiences 
  • It is alright to share your own faults and vulnerable sides.
  • Learn to share your feelings.  Although culture seems to limit emotion or feelings exchange, parent-teen communication should always be open.  Expressing your feelings helps especially when your teens have done something wrong; for instance, you may say, "It hurts me to see you do that - and I feel sad that I have to punish you for it."
Teens’ personal circumstances e.g. academic 
  • Recognize their effort and improvement before giving your advice
  • Do not compare your teens with others, as this will not motivate them.  Instead, match your requirements and expectations to their abilities, which allows them to experience a feeling of success and positive feedback