Everyday situations can offer a natural way to ease into a conversation with a teen. That can be a lot easier than telling your teen, “We need to talk.” And better received too.
Maybe it’s a scene from a movie or TV show. Perhaps it’s a song lyric or a news story. Or it could be something that has happened in the neighborhood. These, or anything else that seems timely, can be effective conversation starters.
A good way to start is simply to ask, “What do you think about that?” And “that” might be:
- A peer or family member learns she is pregnant
- A television show discusses teen relationships
- A news report on something involving teens
- A popular song on the radio that talks about relationships
If your son or daughter answers, “I dunno” or something like that, say, “Well, let me share what I think.” Don’t lecture. Just use it as a jumping-off point to talk about your views and feelings.
You might also ask, “Do you know anybody that has happened to?”
And take advantage of natural settings. Don’t call your teen in for A TALK, like he or she is being called to court, because that’s how it may feel to your teen. Many parents report, for example, that they often talk to their teen when they are driving in the car. Perhaps it’s because there is very little eye contact when driving, something a teen may find a bit less nerve wracking. Maybe it’s the fact that the conversation can end and the radio can be turned back up, offering an easy transition back to less stressful topics.
Remember, your goal is not to deliver a lecture or scare either one of you. Your goal is to have a conversation. And that conversation takes place over time, sometimes in bits and pieces.