An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the Forums?Join or

Tips on Talking to Teens

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Child' started by Nick W., Nov 3, 2014.

  1. Peninha

    Peninha Community Champion

    That's right, knowing and choosing the right words is an art that can make all the difference, we need to learn how to communicate with them, that is very important.
  2. notodrugs

    notodrugs Community Listener Community Listener

    Yes, I believe in open communication and compromise too. It all has something to do with choosing our battles as parents. If it will be for my kids' well-being, why not compromise? It even affirms the kids' negotiation and decision-making skills. You've summed up the factors that I think we should not play fair with our kids. These are important stuff that parents should take seriously as they can make or break the kids' future.
    Nick W. likes this.
  3. Nikkishea21

    Nikkishea21 Active Contributor

    I am an educator, i find that whenever i encounter students with a drug problem they oftentimes are of the view that you would not know what they are going through. A student in my class had strong marijuana scent on him and i called him during his lunch break. Paul are you smoking ganja? i asked. He looked at me like i was a ghost he just bumped into and could not continue. I use to use it as well you know so i know what it can do to a person, it will feel good at first but it will affect you negatively, i said to him. He walked out of the room and did not return. He however came to me one day and said that it was his friend that gave it to him and it felt good , i told him that the school counselor could help him. I had a talk with him that day and i am not sure if it had any direct bearing on him or if he stopped but it was also referrred to the guidance counsellor and they also had dialogue with him. The approach that is taken with teens is not well sought out, they may escalate the issue just to show that they do not want to be spoken to about it. Be careful as some teens just straight out see adults as just bossy and meddling in their lives. Gaining their trust is one way of effectively communicating with them.
  4. Nikkishea21

    Nikkishea21 Active Contributor

    Kids are professionals at outsmarting adults. Ever saw a case of students being held with contraband and the parents swore that it did not belong to their kid? This is just a drop in the bucket of the type of secrets children are capable of keeping from adults.
    Nick W. likes this.
  5. wulfman

    wulfman Senior Contributor

    Yes but with raging hormones and pressure from fellow teenagers, and not having a fully mature mind yet, they can be a bit difficult to deal with at times. I certainly was. Myy parents heard me out and gave me the respect (kind of) so I do see your point. What I was trying to say is that I rather try and talk sense to someone who is 25+ years old versus a teenager who would feel more slighted or irritated by a few choice words. Maturity is not at its highest point when you are a teenager. Why do you think high school is so miserable for a lot of kids?
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014
  6. wulfman

    wulfman Senior Contributor

    This is the EXACT point I was trying to convey yes. You have to be more careful and vigilant about everything you say. A lot of them with problems automatically see you as the enemy or do not trust you. It has to be earned versus a mature female or male adult where you don't have to earn anything. Mutual respect amongst adults is often times implied unless you do something blatantly wrong. Or if the other adult is just a plain jack ass which all of us has encountered. In this case it is more often than not an adult who as a teenager was not dealt with properly. It is a very crucial time of life for sure.
  7. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    I don't think that high school is miserable for a lot of kids, I think that the loudest voice usually gets heard, and so we always hear stories about those that are unhappy, but statistically speaking, I'd be willing to wager that a vast majority equate high school with an overall good time.

    I see what you're saying about teenagers, and I think it's all about the approach. Personally, I'd rather deal with a teenager who has raging hormones and is a little immature, than deal with a 25 year old who thinks they've already learned everything they can, and have it all "figured out". I think immaturity probably still hits at any age group, it just depends on the person. I've had very little experience with teens feeling slighted, when approached in a straightforward and honest way. Of course, that does not mean that they've always agreed, or been happy with my conversation or decisions, but I find that the more then understand it, the easier they take it overall.
    dejanee22 likes this.
  8. dejanee22

    dejanee22 Member

    The tips shared are excellent and I believe it will help teenagers to open up. However, one thing that I thought about is parents should always have the lines of communication open. I think parents should ask themselves have I always talked to my child? Or are they now trying to open up lines of communication when they have a "difficult" teen? There are a lot of factors to consider when determining the best method of communication for each child. I think that parents have to be aware of how they communicate with their child starting as early as infancy to help the lines of communication to be open during the teen years.
    Nick W. likes this.
  9. dejanee22

    dejanee22 Member

    I really like this response I agree that we should talk to our children in a way that we would want to be talked to. This method allows for mutual respect and it allows the parent to be firm without degrading the child.
    Nick W. likes this.
  10. wulfman

    wulfman Senior Contributor

    I guess we have to agree to disagree to some extent. I work with a few guys in their late 20s and none of them have that "know it all attitude". They have their flaws no doubt but they do what they are told and are eager to please the management to advance themselves.

    Perhaps I am making a generalization but I feel if you take an anonymous poll about "how high school was for you" you would get more negative than positive feedback. Because it is not only about high school. You have to worry about other teenagers, changes in your body, dealing with parents, getting into a good college, and of course all the negatives you have to stay away from (and at the same time look "cool" doing it). Those 4 years are like a pressure cooker man.
    Nick W. likes this.
  11. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    Honestly, I don't think we're disagreeing all that much, it's just different ways of interpreting, and based on what we've seen individually. I don't think one way is more "right" than the other. It's the way life is. I think you make many valid points.
  12. wulfman

    wulfman Senior Contributor

    Yes experience is key in shaping a person's ideas, opinions, and perspectives. Facts of course are essential and I always try to put more weight on those but we are all a shade biased because of our experiences in life. Some base their views much more on experience rather than facts which leads to somewhat flawed thinking at times.
  13. proldani

    proldani Member

    We as parents tend to believe that our children will get all of the tools needed to surivive by temselves, and while life experiences surely shape our destiny, teenagers are really vulnerable to a lot of "temptations" out there. We are responsible for the way we raise them, and I tend to believe from time to time that my daughter is old enough to decide for herself about many significant issues, but we must look after them. I've seen many sad stories about teens who can't get along with their parents, and that lack of communication can lead to many problems such as substance abuse.

    We don't have to prepare a structured speech when we talk to them about drugs and other sensitive issues. We just have to be ourselves and show that we care about them.
    Nick W. likes this.
  14. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    proldani, I tend to let my daughter make as many choices for herself as she can, but I try to provide guidance along the way. Sometimes they need to learn a lesson, or learn from a mistake, but it really depends on the situation at hand. When my daughter was younger she wanted to pick out her clothing. If she made a poor choice regarding the weather I would SUGGEST that she evaluate the weather first, I would remind her of the consequences of a wrong decision (in this case, long clothes on a hot day, etc...), but ultimately I would allow her to make the decision. Sometimes she was right, sometimes she was wrong, and learned from that.

    Now, I'm not saying that's a solution to many of life's problems, because some mistakes & consequences have lifelong ramifications, but for the small ones, I think it's important for kids to have a certain amount of freedom, and to test the waters for themselves, that's how they grow as individuals, and I also feel that's how you can avoid reckless defiance & rebellion.

    However, that's just my opinion. I don't judge other parents, because I'm not them.
  15. Peninha

    Peninha Community Champion

    It's a really complex topic and I think we should keep is as simple as possible. Give the best example and stay close to them will lead to good results IMO.
  16. sammy

    sammy Active Contributor

    Thanks for the tips. I have heard many times that you have to have the discussion more than once with your child but how is the best way to do that without the conversation feeling false or forced? I am trying to think of ways to work discussion about these topics into more everyday conversation.
  17. Peninha

    Peninha Community Champion

    I think that some talks cannot be avoided, we just have them, but we have to be accessible, don't talk from the heights, but as equals, it's suppose to be a talk, not a monologue.
  18. GenevB

    GenevB Community Champion

    From my experience as an ex teenager, I can say that you should never try and get to his level, this way you'll make him/her think that you are already above, and this is what most teenagers hate the most, being treated as they are inferior to their older relatives. Just get informed about the topic, but maintain the position of a parent, this way you'll get respect and the teenager won't think you are taking him from above. Hope this helps.
  19. Peninha

    Peninha Community Champion

    I wish my parents could have talked to me before I started consuming drugs and got me into sports or something, that's what I do now for fun.
  20. jeremy2

    jeremy2 Community Champion

    I agree that teenagers are somewhat complicated when it comes to advising them about serious issues affecting the first hand.I tend to think that creating a conducive environment for discussing any issue will have a positive impact on the teen who may otherwise feel cornered and view the discussion as being an interrogation. This will not have the desired effect and may be counterproductive in the long run.