Tips for Talking with Your Teen

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I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Anheuser-Busch’s Family Talk About Drinking program. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Tips fpr having real conversation with your teen - Organized 31 #FamilyTalk #MC #sponsored

As a parent we have the greatest influence on our teen’s choices, according to MJ Corcoran, Parenting Coach.  But to be able to have that positive influence, we have to keep the communication open between our teen and ourselves.  As a mother of 3 and a parent educator, here are some tips that have worked for me for talking with your teen and having a real conversation about underage drinking or any topic.

I’m proud to have been selected as an Anheuser-Busch Family Talk About Drinking Ambassador.  My parenting goal has always been to raise my children to be responsible, contributing citizens and keep my children safe.  The Family Talk About Drinking (FTAD) program provides great resources for parents to be able to do just that.  You can download your own copy of the Parent Guide and learn more on the FTAD Facebook Page.

Tips fpr having real conversation with your teen - Organized 31 #FamilyTalk #MC #sponsored
Tips fpr having real conversation with your teen - Organized 31 #FamilyTalk #MC #sponsored

My oldest daughter went to her senior prom last week and came home happy and safe (whew!).  She’s now facing her own graduation party and all the parties of her friends.  I have made special efforts all her life to maintain a strong line of communication with her (and my other children).  

Tips for Talking with Your Teen

Spend 1-on-1 time with your child – With 3 children and an active duty military husband, it’s often difficult to find alone time to talk with each of my children.  But no matter how difficult it has been, I have always made it a priority.  Sometimes I take my daughter out on a special trip or date to do something that she would like to do, just the two of us. Making face and skin care items together, like DIY Brown Sugar Lip Scrub, is always fun.  Sometimes life is too busy and funds are too tight, so I take my daughter with me to run errands and make the most of that time together.  Other times all I can make happen is to spend some time cuddling and talking with her before she goes to bed.  Do whatever works best for you, just make sure that you do spend that 1-on-1 time with your child.

Spend family time together – In addition to spending one-on-one time with my teen, we schedule family activities together to build a strong family bond. Sometimes spending family time with teens can be more challenging, so these games for teens are my go-to list for fun ideas for family time. 

Take advantage of opportunities to talk – Prom and graduation season provide the perfect lead-ins to talk with your teen about underage drinking or other teen issues.  An incident that occurs at school or in your community can provide the springboard to discuss other difficult issues with your child.  Use these opportunities to talk with, not at your child.

Be interested in your child and their opinions – Ask, “What’s it like to be a teen today?” or “How do you think being a teen is different for you than it was for me?”  I’ve had some great conversations with my daughters when I’ve asked that question.  I’ve asked my son, “How do you think it’s different for you being a boy in ___grade than it was for me as a girl?”  Again, some great conversations were started with one simple question.

Do more listening than talking – Most likely you and your child are more accustomed to you doing most of the talking, but if you want to have a real conversation with your child, make the concentrated effort to listen more than you talk.  Ask your child open-ended questions and then listen to what they tell you, really listen.  Ask follow-on questions rather than lecturing.  You don’t have to fill the silence with mom (or dad) talk, silence is okay (this is my personal struggle).   Use your body language to show your child that you’re listening and accepting what they’re telling you so that you don’t shut them down with your nonverbals.

Remember you are the parent– The goal of having a real conversation with your child is not to be their “friend.”  You are the parent.  The goal is to use the stages of parenting to help guide your child’s choices and decisions.  You want to help your child learn and strengthen the skills necessary for good decision-making for the rest of her life.  In the end, when appropriate, clearly state your family expectations and rules. 

 I had the opportunity to interview the FTAD parenting coach MJ Corcoran about ways that parents can connect and talk with their children about underage drinking.  She stressed how important it is to keep an open mind when talking with your children and to be honest with them.  She also  advised that texting when your teen is at a prom or graduation party isn’t enough. Check in with an old-fashioned phone call to encourage greater accountability.  MJ shared these tips to having a REAL conversation with your teen.

R – Realize that your child needs to have a connection with you.

E – Examine your own assumptions and prejudices.

A – Always be aware of the other influences in your child’s life.

L – Listen, because all children (especially teens) have a deep need to be heard. 

To help you start your next real talk with your child, Anheuser-Busch’s Family Talk About Drinking is providing me with a $25 Visa gift card to giveaway.  You can use this gift card towards spending quality time with your child and to jumpstart a real conversation with your teen prior to prom, graduation and high school parties.  

Parenting Tips from a mother of 3 and parent educator with 20+ years of experience.

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  1. Having a teenager, or any young child, can be so scary when it comes to drinking. I know you and your daughter have a great relationship and I think that is step one. These are all great tips

    1. Tammy, I agree that talking where you’re both comfortable and at ease is key. Best of luck in the giveaway.

  2. There is a new frog ice cream custard place that my Step-tween LOVES. We do most of our best talking over ice cream. Thanks so much for sharing this important message. Hugs, Holly

    1. Holly, what is it about ice cream that lead to great conversation? πŸ™‚ Good luck in the giveaway.

    1. Natalie, I’m sure your nephew would enjoy dinner with such a thoughtful aunt. Best of luck with the drawing.

  3. If I won this great gift, I would have a conversation with my young adult on a Sunday morning when we were having some great relaxed family time.

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    1. Trisha, being outside does seem to lead to more comfortable conversations in my family, too. Good luck in the giveaway.

  5. My teen and I have a lot of talks in the car when we are running errands together. It’s more relaxed since the pressure for direct eye contact is alleviated since one of us has to keep our eyes on the road.

  6. I’d use this prize to take my daugther to Panera for coffee and pastry. Kind of an adult treat for a kind of adult conversation.

    1. I really like the idea of a more adult setting for a grown up conversation, Denise. Good luck with the giveaway.

    1. Driving country roads sounds peaceful and perfect for a serious talk, Tami. Wishing you luck in the giveaway.

  7. I admire your parenting skills (always have) and am a little relieved that I’m doing a good job with all of your suggestions. If I won, I’d take my daughter out to eat. It’s a treat we don’t get these days and she loves talking over dinner in a restaurant!

    1. Kellie, my friend, it’s mutual admiration! Anywhere the daughter loves to talk is the place to go πŸ™‚

  8. I would love to take my daughter out for a quiet walk on one of the trails As this way we can just chat about a few things & enjoy our time.

    1. A quite walk would be conducive to a serious chat and sounds delightful, Bailey. Best of luck in the giveaway.

    1. Laura, going out to breakfast is a treat we don’t do very often and sounds perfect for a serious talk. Best of luck with the giveaway.

  9. We like to spend time going to the movies and then a frap at starbucks. Thank you for the great giveaway πŸ™‚
    Happy Mother’s Day!

  10. My daughter is very open with me. We would talk at a place of her choosing to make her comfortable .

  11. There is a quiet Mexican restaurant in town that my sister and I both love. It would be a great place for a talk where we can enjoy some delicious food and feel comfortable. I’m a lucky big sister in that she enjoys having talks with me and knows she can trust me to offer good advice and be there for her!

  12. I’m years away from having a teen, but I don’t think I can prepare myself enough for those “teen years”! Thank you!

  13. I’d take a long car ride with her. We have some of our best talks driving through the countryside.

  14. I would take her to Buffalo Wild Wings. She loves to eat there & it’s a great opportunity to observe others drinking socially to discuss what is appropriate & what is not.

  15. I would take my niece out shopping (probably Target or Bed Bath and Beyond). There’s something about driving an hour to get to either of those stores and then having ‘girl time’ that gets us discussing some important things in life.

  16. I would love to take my teen out to a nice breakfast at IHOP to talk. I never go out with her alone and she loves IHOP breakfasts, so this would be perfect!

  17. My son enjoys sports so I think if we went to a local baseball game we’d have a lot of time, during lulls in the game, to have a great conversation.

  18. Oh I would have to say going to a ballgame and then stop and get something to eat on the way home!

  19. Taking a walk, movie and lunch day, or just at the house doing things together are ways I would spend time with my kids and talk with them.

  20. Lunch at our favorite restaurant. If I take them there, they will do anything I say. πŸ™‚

  21. I would have the conversation at home. We can be ourselves there and not worry about others listening in to our personal conversation. I would maybe take it out on the porch with some lemonade and fresh baked cookies to help ease things along.

  22. Having both a teenage son and daughter is scary! I love the time that I get to spend with both of them!

  23. I would take my granddaughter out to lunch. We have great conversations when we are out together.

  24. Probably on one of our long walks together.I think a casual setting makes for easier conversation.

  25. We would get a pizza and have a talk at home before watching a movie. Yes my son still likes to occasionally watch a movie with his mom.

  26. I would have a conversation while we are walking and playing with our family dog in the breezeway out behind our house. Then we have something to mutually be interested in, and when fido wears out (as he does fairly soon in his old age now) we can have our more serious conversation.

  27. We spend the morning at the beach and then go our favorite beach cafΓ© for lunch and conversation!

  28. I’m ages away of having a teen at home, but I think in a quiet nice terrace at a restaurant or in a park or an afternoon walk would be a good place.

  29. I would have a conversation at the beach where it is relaxed and peaceful the sound of the ocean relaxes everyone..

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