Answers for Teens

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It’s So Hard to Talk to My Parents. When I Do, They Don’t Listen.

Communication is hard work. It’s often easier to say nothing than to talk things out. But watch out for making excuses not to communicate: “They never listen anyway”; “We will only end up fighting”; or “They will just make fun of me.”

Also avoid communication-killers. When your parents don’t seem to understand, it doesn’t take long to form habits that kill communication.

Some of these are:

  • The Silent Treatment. You don’t speak at all to your parents (usually to “get even” for something).
  • The Last Word. This can be done with anger or with controlled politeness. You have to have the last word.
  • I’ll Just Put Up with It. You say what you think your parents want to hear, then go out secretly and do what you want anyway.
  • Bigger, Better, NicerYou tell your parents how much better your friends’ parents are.
  • Running AwayYou get so frustrated that you leave the room or the house to avoid further confrontation.
  • Dogging Them with Dogmatism. Your conversation is full of phrases such as “You never” or “You always.”
  • Bugging ‘Em to Death. Here you believe that if you pester them long enough you can get your way (Parents: Raising Them Properly, pp. 19, 20).

Finally, don’t get frustrated and give up. Keep the lines of communication open. Even though it may feel like you are not making progress, if you try, you really are moving ahead in your relationships.

Taken from The Teenage Q&A Book, p. 4