The secret to communicating with your teen

Reporter: Lois Thome
Published: Updated:
Communicating with your teen. Photo via Ivanhoe

It may feel like pulling teeth to get your teen to say more than yes, no, and OK, but new research reveals the potential trick to getting your teen to talk.

It seems like your toddler can talk forever. But then come the teenage years, and the words just stop. Researchers studying more than 400 middle schoolers and their mothers found that mindful parenting, which emphasizes being in the present moment with your teen and responding to them in a nonjudgmental manner, was linked to better teen-parent communication.

The study also found that mindful parenting promotes a stronger bond between parent and teen. For example, if a teen tells her parent that she got a bad grade in school, it can be easy and normal for parents to quickly react to such news with anger or disappointment. A mindful parenting approach suggests it’s important for parents to take a moment and pause before responding to such news. This way teens see parents as less controlling and more supportive.

Mindful parenting can ease some of the strain of parent-teen conflicts during this developmental stage for teens while they are seeking more independence. It is also linked to lower levels of risky behaviors in teens.

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