#016 From Difficult to Impactful Conversations with Your Teen

Do you dread having “difficult” conversations with your teen? It’s okay, but you still NEED to have those conversations!

“When we give children advice or instant solutions, we deprive them of the experience that comes from wrestling with their own problems.”
~ Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish, How To Talk So Kids Will Listen

“The attitude behind your words is as important as the words themselves.”
~ Adele Faber, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

“It’s also not helpful when parents respond with more intensity than the child feels.”
~ Adele Faber, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

What makes a conversation “difficult”?

Parents tell me all the time that they don’t like having “difficult” conversations with their teens.

“I don’t like confrontation,” some say. Or, “I don’t want to make them uncomfortable.”

So, let’s get curious for a minute.

What is it that makes a conversation difficult?

It’s what we think about it. It’s what we think the other person is thinking about it. It’s a million other thoughts, but it always comes down to our thoughts.

It’s not that sex or pornography are inherently difficult things to talk about them, it just that we have a bunch of thoughts that make it hard to talk about. Thoughts like:

  • “This is going to be weird,” or
  • “People don’t talk about sex or pornography,” or
  • “This isn’t normal.”

“Difficult” conversations DON’T have to be “difficult.”

And, it’s 100% okay to feel some discomfort!

Why is it important to have these conversations?

I want to turn that question directly to you!

Why is it important to have these conversations?

Some conversations don’t need to be had.

For me, I’ve decided that it is my duty as a father to teach my children about things, especially potential threats.

I think it’s important to talk about things like sex, pornography, social media, and other potential threats so that my teens are prepared. I’m also pretty confidence that their friends and social media or going to have a lot to say, and I want to make sure that I’m sharing my point of view loud and clear.

I think that by having these conversations, I am increasing my impact in their life.

You get to decide why it’s important for you and your teen. The more clear you get on WHY it’s important to you, the easier these conversations will be.

How to have “Impactful” conversations instead of “difficult” conversations.

  • Be intentional!
    • Know why this is important to you.
    • Know what your role is as a parent.
    • Decide how you want to show up emotionally.
    • Know what the result that you are looking for is.
  • Be quick to listen and encourage that THEY talk.
    • When your teen wants to talk, listen.
    • Listen to what is being said and what’s not being said.
    • Seek to understand:
      • where they are coming from?
      • how do they think?
      • what do they want?
      • how are they understanding this?
  • Be clear
    • Be specific.
    • The vague, “You know what I’m talking about” doesn’t cut it.
    • Use examples.
    • Don’t overcomplicate it.
  • Be vulnerable
    • It’s okay to feel uncomfortable.
    • It’s okay to share your past experience with something similar.
    • It’s okay to not have the answers.
  • Allow for curiosity
    • Be curious about them and what they think.
    • Let your teen be curious about you and what you think.
    • Explore the topic
    • Curiosity leads to honesty and truth.

So, what can you do now?

Stop focusing on the “difficult” conversations and start practicing having “IMPACTFUL” conversations with your teen.

Trust that they want to have these conversations with you, even if they are a little uncomfortable.

Trust that by YOU being true to your role and purpose as their parent, YOU WILL have a powerful impact on their life.

Take the plunge and practice having “impactful” conversations TODAY!

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