Of all the challenges of motherhood, pulling information out of a teenage boy is probably the hardest to date.  I should have been prepared because he has never been an over-sharer! I was inspired to write about this subject after  reading the Teen Talk section of Unbrace Teen Confidence from our sponsor, the makers of  Invisalign Teen ®  clear aligners.  Please check out this interactive free guide that covers this and other  helpful practical tips to help parents build a foundation of self-confidence for their teens. How to Get Your Teen to Talk  

Leading an Unbalanced Conversation

One of the things I have been increasingly conscious of in my own words, is attempting to have my positive comments WAY outweigh the negative.  This is not easy. It is something I struggle with daily. It is so easy to have the majority of my statements be:
  • You left out the milk.
  • Your shoes are in the middle of the living room.
  • You made us late again!
  • Your bathroom is always a disaster.
  • Please take a shower!
But when most of what I say is something HE doesn’t want to hear, it makes it hard to start a conversation on another topic.  It also puts him on the defensive anytime I open my mouth. Daily, I am working to pick my battles so that I can have happy, positive chatter with my teenager instead of mini-war after mini-war.

Ask Nicely

One thing I love about my teenager is he is an amazing helper.  He likes to be helpful and is really good at it. So instead of the negative statements like “your shoes are in the middle of the living room”, I am working to turn it around to a positive request. Asking, “Can you help me pick up so we can get things organized?” accomplishes the same thing as a negative statement, but elicits much less resistance.

Respect a Teen’s Time

Being aware of timing can also help make a request more successful.  I often find myself not respecting his time, but expecting him to respect mine.  Even if I find a video game silly, he does not and may really be in the middle of something that can’t be paused. Announcing a timeframe like I used to do when he was a toddler has worked well!  Saying, “In 15 minutes I would love some help with XYZ!” is much more effective in my house than a command to come immediately.

Get  Input

Last night at dinner, I asked my teen for input on this article.  He smiled a little and laughed. A great reaction. He thought for a moment and then reached down and picked up our dog.  He said that it was easier to talk when the dog was on his lap.  That unconditional love gave him courage.  I have noticed that he is much more gentle around the dog as well, but would never have put those things together if I hadn’t asked.

Never Ever Ever Give Up

This is important.  Trying every day to increase the communication and improve the connection is worth the work. It may be a thankless job, but it is one that they silently and unknowingly appreciate. You are their cheerleader, defender and secure place.  If they can’t count on those things from you…then how do we expect them to face the world?

Moms Interactive Guide to Raising Confident Teens

The Invisalign Teen brand commissioned a Teen Confidence Survey to understand the impact of pressures at school, with friends, and social media have on teen’s self confidence.  The results show that while teens face many of the same issues of past generations, the world is a different place today! Unbrace Teen Confidence Pocket Guide A teen’s life is now being chronicled digitally on social media which brings up a whole new set of issues and puts additional pressure on young people.  The survey found that 54 percent of teens felt their life would be better without social media and 40 percent feel their appearance is being judged more closely on social media than in person. With that in mind, the Invisalign Teen brand collaborated with top parenting expert, Erika Katz, to use this data to develop practical tips to help parents build a foundation of self-confidence for their teens. View and download the interactive guide by clicking here:  Invisalign Unbrace Teen Confidence Oh!  And for every person that clicks, shares & downloads the guide, the Invisalign Teen brand is donating $1 to DoSomething.org – an organization that builds teen confidence by creating opportunities for them to drive positive change in the world. Kids Activities Blog is excited to be working with the maker's of Invisalign Teen clear aligners again this year.  Holly Homer is an Invisalign Teen brand spokesperson and thrilled to be talking about her Invisalign treatment experience as well as starting  a new Invisalign Teen clear aligners journey with one of her boys.  All opinions expressed are her own.  Full disclosure.

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