How to Speak Less and Say More to Teens

Do you ever see your teens eyes glaze over while you’re talking to them? This usually happens when we’re talking too much.

Most parents say 50% more than necessary when talking to their teen.

If you’re particularly verbose (like me!) you may even say 70% more than necessary.

In today’s virtual world, teens are listening less and watching more. Its easier than ever for them to get overwhelmed with lengthy lectures.

If you want your teen to really hear you, remember the 9th Beatitude: “Blessed are the brief, they shall be heard”.

Three Tips:

1. Process with someone else before talking to your teen

Sometimes, especially for us verbal processors (those whose brains only work when our mouths are moving…again, like me!), if we talk it out first with someone else, we also think it out and can be more concise when talking to our teen.

2. Beware of repeating yourself

When we don’t feel heard we typically do one of three things

  1. Say it louder
  2. Say it again
  3. Say it louder, again.

 

If you feel like your teen isn’t listening to you, ask “Can you look at me and please tell me what I just said? I don’t want to nag, but I need to know you’re listening. And when you ______(roll your eyes, keep playing on your phone, slouch and avoid eye contact, etc.) I feel like you’re not listening and want to repeat myself. You can help me to not do that by assuring me that you are listening to what I’m saying.”

3. Ask yourself “Whats the least I can say and still get my point across?”

Force yourself to just say that. Notice how you feel afterward. Most likely, if over talking is a habit, you’ll feel disease because of a lack of verbal cues from your teen indicating that they’re hearing you, agree with you and will be compliant with what you’re asking them.  Every parent wants their teen to look longingly into their eyes and nod understandingly as while they bestow great life lessons upon them. But, this rarely happens. Even if your teen didn’t hear you, or you feel it didn’t “sink in” remember,  there’s always tomorrow! Trust me, you won’t forget to bring it up again!

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