With all the time families have spent together during quarantine, communication struggles have emerged—particularly between teenagers and parents. You may be frustrated with a teen who won’t talk to you. Take heart in knowing you aren’t alone, and you aren’t necessarily doing anything wrong. Keep reading to learn how the teen’s developmental stage impacts the communication process. Also, you will learn what you can do to help the situation.
How the Teenage Developmental Stage Affects Communication
While it may seem like only yesterday your son or daughter enjoyed spending time with you and talking to you, the teenage years typically bring with it some communication challenges. It’s not always easy to adjust to having a teen in the house who prefers to be alone in their bedroom or begins to sigh or roll their eyes the moment you attempt conversation.
The fact is that teenagers are going through numerous hormonal changes that influence them physically, emotionally, cognitively, and socially. When a child hits puberty, their brain releases hormones that can leave teens moody, unpredictable, and distant.
What feels like rejection from your teen is often them attempting to establish their independence. This is completely normal for this development stage. As they begin to look beyond their parents to define their identity and opinions, pulling away from their parents is a necessary stage. Although he or she is unlikely to admit it, they still need you to stay involved in their lives and bridge the gap by meeting them where they are.
How to Give Your Teen Space While Continuing to Be There for Them
The tricky part for parents is figuring out how not to take teen distancing behavior personally. Next, you need to find ways to remain connected and involved. Here are some tips to make the most of communication opportunities with your teenager as you navigate this developmental stage:
- Remain calm and consistent no matter what mood your teen is in.
- Continually remind them that they can come to you to talk any time they are ready.
- Ask them what’s on their mind and their opinion on topics, and then really listen to their response.
- Show respect to your teen by respecting their privacy and keeping interactions as positive as possible.
- Engage your teen by doing activities together that interest him or her.
- Avoid talking down to your teen like a child or lecturing.
Consider Family Counseling If You Need Additional Support
While some level of distancing and silence is normal for teens, if you believe there is a serious problem, it’s a good idea to seek professional help. It’s crucial to get additional support if you suspect the teen is dealing with an eating disorder, depression, or suicidal thoughts. A professional therapist can work with the teen individually or the family as a whole to improve communication and work toward healing.
Reach out to us at Positive Living Psychotherapy if you are worried about why your teen won’t talk to you. Our licensed therapists offer a free phone consultation and can connect you with the counseling services you need.