My Teen Communication Commandments

I often get asked for a list of easy communication Do’s and Don’ts. If you only have to remember a few things while communicating with your teen, here are the top ten:

1. Never talk about your teen in front of them as if they are not there.

2. Don’t let them place objects between you. This creates emotional barriers—the remote control is quite popular.

3. If your teen goes into ‘whine’ mode, do not respond until the insist on taking the ‘whin’ out of their tone.

4. Never embarrass your teen to be funny. This only creates barriers between you and it does not ‘give them thick skin.’

5. If you are in an argument, try changing locations–those three seconds provide space to calm down and reset.

6. Don’t play ‘what if’ with them or yourself, this will only end in a battle of logic.

7. Don’t fall into the ‘I’ll do it later’ trap. We all know they won’t do it later and you will be disappointed.

8. If you want them to break a rule, say because ‘I said so.’

9. Always start with what you agree on. This puts you both on the same page and makes it easier when they have to compromise later.

10. If you feel like you might say something you do not mean, walk away.

Some of these are harder in practice than theory, but they have never steered me wrong. Typically, the hardest ones to implement, are the most bad habit breaking.

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