The teenage years present many challenges to parents. It helps to understand that all of these challenges are a part of your teen’s normal individuation process. Teens are going through a time period of separating from their parents and discovering who they are and what they believe as individuals. Their brain is also continuing to mature, as their limbic system (responsible for impulse control, emotional regulation, and problem solving) is not fully developed yet. Therefore, most of their reactions to others and decision making is done through their instincts or “gut feelings”.
They will make many mistakes along the way (we all do). Instead of lecturing and punishing, which can cause your teen to become defensive and rebel more, you can help your children explore the consequences of their decisions. This can help them learn problem solving, and empower them to come up with solutions that they feel will be most helpful. As they are learning, they will become more confident in their decisions, know what is important to them as individuals, and make better choices in the future.
Curiosity questions is a tool that parents can use to invite their teen into a conversation and help them explore the consequences of their choices. They are designed to get to the core of what your teen is thinking, feeling, and learning. It is important to note that they shouldn’t be scripted, and should just follow the natural flow of the conversation.
It is also important for both you and your teen to be calm before initiating a conversation. Inviting your teen into a conversation will alleviate the defensiveness that comes from giving them a lecture. “Can we talk about what happened?” is a good example.
Here are some examples of curiosity questions:
What were your trying to accomplish?
How do you feel about what happened?
What do your friends say?
What did you learn from this situation?
What ideas do you have for ways to handle this in the future?
As parents, we care so much about our children and want to share our wisdom with them. Your teen may be more willing to hear what you say after you ask them about what they were thinking and feeling first. You can ask them “Would you like some advice?”. If they are receptive, keep your feedback short and positive.
Curiosity questions may take time, but they open the doorway to better communication and connection with your teen.
I hope you find this information helpful,
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