Increase Communication by Creating “Commonness” with Your Teen

Communication involves expressing your ideas and feelings, as well as accurately receiving the ideas expressed by others. But, communication is more than just the exchange of words. Originating from the Latin word “communis”, communication means to establish a sense of “commonness” through what we say, how we say it, why we say it, when we say it, as well as what we don’t say.  Marian-Webster  defines commonness as “belonging to or shared by two or more individuals or things or by all members of a group”.  As parents, we share a sense of commonness through the parent-child relationship.

Why can it be so difficult to communicate with teens? Communication is how parents and children share aspects of themselves, developing increased awareness, understanding, and closeness through the exchange of thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Sometimes, our body language says more

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to our teens than the words we speak.  This means that we need to be genuinely interested and accepting of our teens. We can improve communication with teens by finding ways to relate to them. This can be shar

ing car rides, dancing in the living room to their favorite music, or hanging out at the skate park. Most of the time, if we find joint experiences or engage in activities that teens like, they will naturally open up and

share a little piece of who they are with us.  It is through this process that we find the commonness that brings us together.

Communication Tip:

Healthy communication requires recognizing that communicating is a choice. The only behavior a parent can really control is his/her own.  It can be easy to get caught up in feeling like … “my teen never talks to me.”  This is the wrong focus because you can’t make your teen talk to you, or share personal thoughts and feelings.  Instead, focus on gaining perspective of your own emotions and being consistently present, open, and available for your teen.  Create opportunities for the two of you to share an experience and watch the connection happen!

Share your thought … What works for you?

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Author: Shelly D Mahon

I have been working with families and teens for almost 20 years, and teaching in a university setting since the year 2000. My commitment is that parents have the support and resources they need to take care of themselves and foster the growth and development of their children. ABOUT ME I have a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) and over 20 years of experience working with youth and families. No matter what your family structure, I am committed to helping you make your family work. I can guid you in effectively managing divorce, strengthening parent-child relationships, embracing the teenage years, reducing risks and increasing resiliency in your families. If fostering the growth and development of your children is important to you, I am committed to working with you. APART, NOT BROKEN: LEARN, CONNECT, & CREATE! Apart, Not Broken is for divorced or separated parents who want to: Move past fear, pain, & guilt Create the life they want with their child Manage their relationship with their ex Contribute to others Be the creator of their future The program gives you a place to: Learn: Hear others real experiences and insights. Receive information and recommendations that can make a measurable difference in adjusting and parenting after separation or divorce. Connect: Join an online community. Learn to use creative strategies to connect with your child and manage your relationship with their ex-partner. Create: Feel powerful in your ability to be the parent YOU want to be. Create the relationship YOU want with their child by building on existing strengths, starting new traditions, and creating lasting memories. This program has: – Videos reflecting real life experiences; – Online tools for sharing photos, comparing calendars, communicating, and more; – Current & concise information about divorce & parenting after divorce; – Engaging activities to enjoy with their child; & – Additional resources to build their own parenting toolbox. Happy Parenting, Shelly I took my first Human Development and Family Studies course as an undergraduate at 18 years old. This was the beginning of a lifetime love and commitment to this field. I have another online program Parenting Through Middle School. I am the mother of two teens myself. This has been an interesting journey and quite the adventure. Over the years, I have learned that parenting takes a lot of energy, but it is well worth the effort. To me, parenting brings to life an ever-changing spectrum of human emotion. It is filled with moments of love, excitement, anticipation, expectations, fears, hopes, and dreams. It has made me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time! Just when I think I have everything figured out, my children change. In these moments I realize that I too must change. As they grow, I find myself looking for the balance between teaching them my values, beliefs, and interests and helping them discover and develop into their own unique individual characters. I love to exercise, eat well, sing and play my piano. My favorite sports are running, mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing, snowboarding, yoga, Pilates, and most recently, road biking. Happy Parenting! Shelly

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