In our previous post, we discussed how it's important to let your teen express where they are coming from and practice active listening. Once your teen feels heard and understood (again, it doesn't mean you have to agree with them), they will be much more receptive to what you have to say.
And now, it's your turn to talk. Here is a brief video that lays out how to do that well:
As an example of how this might play out, let's go back to our example of Abby and her daughter Jordan and the saga of the phone.
At this point, Jordan would have expressed to her mom what she was feeling and why and Abby would have listened, asked for clarification, and ensure that she understood where Jordan was coming from. Here are some tips for giving your teen your perspective (without starting a fight):
Tell them what YOU need and why (not what you need THEM to do).
One reason this step of the method is so successful is that you are focusing on what YOU need (just like you asked them what they need), and not telling them what to do.
Let me clarify.
Telling them what THEY need to do might sound like this:
Jordan, I need you to not be on the phone so much because I can't be checking on you all the time. I have to work and wondering if you're on the phone instead of doing your work is really stressful for me.
Telling them what YOU need and why might sound more like this:
So, Jordan, last semester, I was really stressed about how to balance staying on top of all my work and meeting all my deadlines while also helping you with online school. What I really need this semester is know that you have what you need to be successful in school so I can spend my work day focusing on getting my work deadlines met. Does that make sense?
Hear the difference? The second statement takes ownership of what they are personally experiencing and clearly states what they need.
Let the conversation continue as long as it needs. You don't have to agree with one another but you need to come to a place where you can understand and empathize where the other person is coming from.
The final step and last post in this series will show you how to make a clear plan that will make both of your lives a lot easier.