Let’s Talk: When it comes to the relationship of communication with our children, I’m sure there’s specific situations that come to each of our minds. When communication is lacking, learning to be patient and build that trait isn’t always easy.

When my daughter was 12 years old, I asked her to go upstairs and clean her room. After about twenty minutes, I went upstairs to check on her progress. She was sitting on her bed, listening to music. Her room was still a disaster, everything that was on the floor was now placed on her dresser. Clothes smashed under her bed, and hidden in her closet.

I asked her, “why are you not cleaning your room?” She replied, “It is clean, do you see anything on the floor?” I can feel my anger rise. Of course, it wasn’t clean. If the room were clean, everything would be placed where it belongs. Clothing would be folded and put away; dirty clothing would be put in the hamper, garbage is taken out, and bed made. With all these things complete, then the room would be clean, right? 

This is the time when we feel our teens have been invaded by aliens again. Why do they not know what a clean room is? How can I communicate to her any more clearly than “clean your room?” In the first article of “Let’s Talk- The Relationship of Communication,” it was presented in three simple steps to improve your teen’s communication.

This article will address two additional steps in the communicative relationship. 

Teaching Communication

If you have worked on the relationship of self, the communication, and the relationship of spouse/support system. As well as your teen’s relationship being open and healthy, you are ready to proceed to the next step: teaching. If, as a parent, I want my teen to clean their room to MY specifications, then I need to TEACH my teen how I would like the room to be cleaned. 

Teaching is one of the leading job descriptions of a parent. When you have a good relationship with your teen, teaching them no longer becomes an uphill battle. With the relationship comes the respect they have for you and a genuine willingness to learn. When teaching, it’s essential to go along the side of your teen to communicate what you would like them to do. But MODEL the expectation you have for them. 

The Last Step of the Communicative Relationship

This occurs when your teen breaks a rule, refuses to comply, or the expectation has not been met (they never do that). CORRECTING your teen can be like approaching a dragon in its lair, but as your relationship continues to build through clear, calm, and loving communication. Correcting behavior can actually become more of a bonding experience. 

What happens when you meet resistance? Step down to teaching or maybe two steps down to work on relationship building with your teen. With love and respect, communication will flow between you and your teen. When those pesky aliens buzz around your house threatening to take over your teen’s brain again, grab their hand and say, “Let’s talk!” 

Positive Parenting Tips and Reminders

Communication and Relationships go hand in hand. Remember the three simple steps from Part 1 of this article and the Teach & Correct steps from Part 2, and be mindful which step(s) you need to fine-tune. You will know when to pull your teen aside and say, ‘Let’s Talk.”