from Fuller Youth Institute, article by Susan Oh Cha
As parents, we have all kinds of reasons to talk to our kids. Often we resort to talking at our kids. But how often do we really talk with our kids?
When we do pursue conversations with our teenagers, what is our motivation? To listen? To learn? To understand? Or are we hoping to win an argument?
In other words, are we initiating a conversation to share our thoughts and opinions and somehow set our kids straight? This might be appropriate sometimes, but more often it’s a sure way to end the conversation game before it even begins.
Research demonstrates that parent-teen connection provides a protective barrier against mental health issues and poor choices in adolescence. Unfortunately, both parents and teenage kids struggle to communicate in ways that keep the conversation ball in the air.
In our first article, Preparing to Converse: At Baseline, my daughter Yumi and I explored the context in which conversations take place, comparing dialogue to a tennis match.
In this second article, we focus on how parents can initiate a conversation that leads to real dialogue with their teenagers.