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Talking to Your Adolescent or Teen About Problems

Overview

Although communicating with your teen can be challenging, it is important to continually make the effort. This is especially important when your child acts out with problem behaviors or seems troubled in some way.

When attempting to talk with your teen about problems or concerns, schedule a "date" in a private and quiet place. During this meeting, focus on the following techniques to help you facilitate conversation.

  • Listen carefully.
  • Talk honestly about specific situations.

    This includes how certain behaviors affect other people. Convey how even though the behavior may not necessarily be "wrong," it makes you feel anxious.

  • Discuss how you will deal with problem behaviors.

    Also discuss how you will reward responsible behavior.

  • Brainstorm ways to deal with a problem and how to choose a solution.
  • If your teen's current friends often get into trouble, encourage your child to make new friends.

    Encourage your teen to join a school club, sports team, or church group to meet new friends.

  • Help your teen make plans for long vacations from school.

    This includes plans for the summer months. Focus on productive activities, such as youth programs, camps, volunteer programs, or possible jobs.

Credits

Current as of: August 3, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
John Pope MD - Pediatrics