Talking to teens about challenging issues, like relationship troubles or drugs and alcohol misuse, is a must for parents. But where to start? These conversations actually can start earlier than you think, by building a relationship of open communication. Samantha Castleton is a social worker at Primary Children’s Hospital’s Wasatch Canyons Center for Counseling. She has tips on how parents can navigate challenging discussions.
- Build a relationship before issues arise
- Listen to and validate your adolescent’s opinions/ideas, even if you don’t agree.
- Do mindful listening. Get out of your own head and make sure you understand what your child is thinking.
- Facilitate collaborative problem-solving rather than “my way or the highway.”