Let’s face it, you’re no longer the hero in your child’s eyes. You can’t call them a child anymore. They’re teenagers. Always on the phone talking, texting, and using the latest social media app with their friends. When the family goes to an outing like a family dinner, you can’t help notice they’re tuned out. Don’t let this discourage you. Know that a break in communication can occur in any type of parenting style and teenager behavior. Teenagers are hesitant to communicate with their parents because they’re afraid of disapproval. You need to remind them that their parent’s love is unconditional.

An open line of communication is critical to foster a healthy relationship. Here are the reasons why plus a few pointers to help you find a “voice” that encourages your teenager to open up to you.

Establishes honesty and trust

Honest communication develops trust in a relationship. Don’t verbally attack your teenager. Otherwise, they’ll be defensive and refrain from telling you the truth. Instead, have a civil conversation and provide them a runway to being honest.

Strengthens the bond

Empathize with your teenager and what they are going through. You’ve been there. Even though times have changed. Being a teenager is tough. Having empathy towards your teenager will broaden your understanding of their feelings. This compassion will strengthen the bond between you and your teenager.

Develops listening skills

A healthy relationship with open communication starts by listening. Actively listen to your teenager without interruption and passing judgment. This reinforces the unconditional parental support that they are seeking from you. Outside of the home, your teenager will become a better listener too and have the ability to handle conflict resolution.

Resilience to peer pressure

Teenage life is surrounded by peer pressure. It’s unavoidable. Often times, teenagers are afraid to share these negative experiences with a parent. When you have open communication with your teenager, they are more willing to let you know when something is wrong. A supportive talk by sharing a similar story could help your teenager realize they are not alone. Offering sound advice encourages bravery. This ability to speak up makes your teenager resilient to peer pressure in the future.

Wise decision-making

Your teenager is less likely to go behind your back when you have open communication. Seize this moment to guide your teenager to make wise decisions. With pop culture and social media being the major influence in today’s teenagers, they’re not fully aware of hazards especially drug use. Discussing teen drug addiction and its destructive impacts openly in advance will guide your teenager on the right path.

Builds self-esteem

Being a teenager is a lot of pressure. Many teenagers suffer from low self-esteem. Practicing open communication at home from the start will boost your teenager’s self-esteem. A teenager that communicates openly is confident and comfortable to be themselves with you and their peers.

Your teenager is unique. Their wants, needs, and experiences will be different from yours. Even if you disapprove, try not to lose your cool with your teenager. Understanding and respecting your teenager for who they are leads to a healthy relationship. If you remain the unconditionally loving parent, you’ll find your teenager will open up to you. In the future, they’ll develop priceless communication skills and become a stronger person. Your teenager may not realize it now, but in time they’ll realize you’re their hero and a major influence in their lives.

If you suspect your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol seek help as soon as possible. We recommend sending them to a drug rehab facility in a city like Bellevue, Washington. The farther the addict is away from his normal social context the easier it will be for him to recover.

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