The Teenage Years and how Communication is Vital

Laura Zittlow, Reporter

Teenage years are often the most talked about negatively. Many say that the teenage years are the worse and feel sorry for the parents because of the neglect that they are given by their kids. But let’s be real, as a teenager you just want to be independent and not rely on your parents. Yet, communication is the best thing that can help parents and teenagers through the teenage years. Communication is vital because these years can become stressful and hard to handle on your own. A bond is formed when you make small talk (or just talk) to trusted adults. That bond can then provide a strong foundation when teens have serious things they need to talk about. That bond can then help with making that conversation easier to handle and not so scary/uncomfortable.


For parents: the best thing you can do is to become educated on the teenage years. You should also keep in mind that they will become “rebellious” at times because their ultimate goal is to become independent as well as what it was like for you to go through those teenage years. Experts say that you should talk to kids early and often about the physical body changes one goes through. They also say that you should choose wisely when you butt heads with your child(ren) and let temporary and harmless actions (choices) slide. Professionals will tell you that you should stay in contact with your child(ren)’s friends’ parents to create a safe environment for when they hang out. And of course, as your teenager will tell you, let them have privacy. You should let them have privacy until warning signs of trouble pop up because it prepares them for adulthood. And lastly, you should know the warning signs when the changes your child(ren) make become drastic. Some warning signs include “skipping school often, falling grade, talk or even jokes about suicide, signs of tobacco, alcohol, or drug use, and run-ins with the law” (A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Teen Years). Please refer to the A Parent’s Guide to Surviving the Teen Years for additional information regarding this topic.

For teenagers: the most important thing to keep in mind is that communication is key. There are going to be times when we want/need some kind of support from our parents or a trusted adult. It is inevitable. We all know that talking to them will be difficult and/or intimidating.  Talking to Your Parents – or Other Adults has some great tips to help through a difficult conversation as well as building a conversation foundation with your parents. One of the very first things that they tell us is to have that conversation foundation. They say that the best way to start and grow that foundation is through day to day conversations with them. It doesn’t have to go all that deep. It could be as simple as small talk. They have a three-step process for when difficult topics come up that should be shared with your parents. The very first step is to think about what you want to achieve with this conversation. Is it asking for advice or guidance? Is it that you just need to share something and you don’t want to be judged? Whatever it is, you should keep that in mind. The second step is to figure out what you are feeling. Figuring out what you are feeling is to more easily guide the conversation. And finally, the third step is to pick the right time to have the conversation. You are going to want to pick a time where they aren’t busy or stressed. A time where they aren’t rushed and you have a limited time to talk to them. The article likes to point out that good planning is essential for a good conversation. Lastly, if a parent says no, accept it. You accepting the no might end letting you have more yeses in the future. If it is really important to get a yes, you can always go and talk to another trusted adult.