The teenage years can sometimes tumultuous time for everyone in the family. Children are testing their independence and parents are at their wits end to try to get them to comply. This can result in some heated discussions on both sides of the coin. It’s easy for parents to lose their cool in the face of argumentative defiance from their teenagers. When it feels like you aren’t being heard, raising your voice is often the first and most natural defence. Parents need to look for ways to communicate that will result in getting teens to listen without raising your voice, often referred to as parenting without yelling.
Yelling usually does little more than exacerbate the situation. Mature adults can have disagreements and get their point across without raising their voice. Yes, emotions can sometimes come into play and there are even situations where yelling is actually warranted, but in most cases, it simply causes a teen to shut down. By giving your teen the power to affect your emotions in such a way, you have given them the upper hand.
Have More Positive Chats than Negative
So many parents avoid talking to their teen until they have a complaint to voice. One of the most important keys to getting teens to listen is creating a solid relationship of mutual respect and trust. This means taking time out on a regular basis to talk about life, share thoughts and feelings, and connect on a deeper level. Fostering a positive relationship with your teen will create a situation in which they are more likely to comply with your rules and requests naturally, reducing the need for raising your voice in the first place. Tell yourself parenting without yelling!
Start Conversations without Dictating
You are absolutely the parent and the authority figure in the home, but that doesn’t mean that conversations with your teen should be taken as an ultimatum. When you have an issue with something that your teen has or has not done, bring the problem to them and allow them to tell their side. When you hold off on an attack and allow them to add their personal narrative, they will be more likely to give you the same respect and trust. You may just find out that there was a good reason behind their actions.
Learn to Listen without Interrupting
There is little that is more frustrating than your child interrupting you when you’re speaking. The same is true when roles are reversed. If you’re able to keep your cool and remain calm, they’re likely to mirror that response and you’ll avoid the back and forth battle of raising your voices and interrupting each other. Even if you’re irritated by the response you’re receiving from your teen, let them finish their thought or explanation before interjecting.
Avoid an Ambush
Nothing puts a person on the defensive like being ambushed with demands and accusations. If your teen feels attacked, they are more likely to respond negatively and become indignant. Instead, wait to discuss unfavourable behaviours or unfulfilled responsibilities at a time that you are both calm and prepared to have a conversation. For example, if your teen misses curfew, try not to fly at them the moment they walk in the door. Instead, tell them that you’re glad they are home safe and you will talk in the morning about why your rule was broken.
Though all parents will slip up from time to time and raise their voice, those who strive to avoid it will find that they are able to communicate with their teen and have a better relationship for it. Teens who feel respected and understood are far more likely to comply with the requests and wishes of their parents than those who feel constantly scrutinized and attacked.