If you have a teen that is regularly getting into trouble or has failing grades in school and is getting into fights, you are likely very worried about him or her. However, you might not know the reason why he or she is acting out and not know what to do about it. You will need to get your child to talk to you. Here are some tips for encouraging your teen to open up to you so that you can help him or her solve his or her problems and regulate his or her emotions more effectively.
1. Be Nonjudgmental
You don't want your child to be taking drugs or stealing things. You also don't want him or her to hang out with people who are doing those activities. Your child knows this and will anticipate punishment as a result, therefore going out of his or her way to make sure that you don't find out. One way to help get your teen to confide in you is if you remove the threat of punishment. For example, make a policy with your teen that he or she can text you at any point during the night if he or she is at a party where he or she is uncomfortable and get a ride home, no questions asked. This will allow your teen to get him or herself out of a bad situation.
Another way to appear nonjudgmental is to promise to just listen if your teen would be willing to talk to you. Make it clear that you won't offer advice unless your teen asks for it. This can help him or her be more willing to open up and talk to you about what he or she is experiencing in his or her life.
2. Practice Active Listening
Your child might have shut down because you didn't pay enough attention to the things that he or she found important in the past. You can rectify this by asking your child about his or her day and listening with attention. You might get one-word answers at first, but if you ask follow up questions, you can possibly show your child that you care. Don't interrogate your child about his or her day. Ask about what music he or she is listening to, what TV shows he or she would recommend, or what hobbies he or she is working on.
For more information, talk to a company such as Youth Programs For Troubled Teens.
After developing a chronic physical illness, I soon began realizing that the disease plagued my mind almost more than it did my body. While my illness is not life-threatening, it was very difficult accepting that I would have to take medication for the rest of my life and eat a strict diet. After a year of depression, I finally overcame my fear of "exposing" my feelings to others and made an appointment with a mental health counselor. With her help, I was able to see the "silver linings" in life that I had greatly taken for granted before I became ill. I now encourage anyone who is battling an illness of any type to seek the psychological help they need. I plan to post lots of little mental health tips and tricks on my new blog along with advice for choosing a good counselor. Please come back soon!