You’ve been talking to your teen and they don’t seem to listen to or even hear anything you say. They don’t even look up from whatever addictive devices they’re using at the time. So, naturally, you raise your voice and even throw in a few of your parents’ nuggets of wisdom for good measure. Ah, a reaction at last! Even if the eye rolls, deep sighs and sarcastic comebacks weren’t exactly what you were hoping for.

If this is the communication pattern with your teens, you can stop contemplating whether to get them hearing aids. The problem probably lies in what you’re saying and this could be hampering your ability to meaningfully connect with your kids.

Don’t believe me? Well, I compiled a list of things teens are tired of hearing from their parents. Pepper your conversations with these and watch as your previously attentive teen goes suspiciously deaf.

  1. When I was your age…
  2. Because I said so.
  3. Turn down that music or you’ll end up deaf at 30.
  4. That’s not an excuse. If everyone jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?
  5. Money doesn’t grow on trees!
  6. This is not a democracy! My house, my rules!
  7. You want a tattoo? It’ll look so stupid when you’re 60.
  8. Don't you ever think of anyone but yourself?
  9. You’ll understand when you’re older.
  10. You have it so easy. Wait ‘till you get to the real world.
  11. Clean up your room, it looks like a pigsty.
  12. I'm sick and tired of your attitude!
  13. You’re a teenager. This is just a phase.
  14. Why are you always holed up in your room all day?
  15. We'll talk about it later.

Breaking The Impasse

Going through the list above, I heard echoes of my parents and thought how ironic it was that the things our teens hate hearing from us are often the very same ones that irked us coming from our own parents. I’m sure, like me, you swore you’d never use them on your children but here we are. We reach for these statements and phrases because they give us an illusion of control over an otherwise confusing or stressful situation.

To improve communication with our teens, we need to be more conscious of what we say to them. We all remember how awkward and confusing our teen years were and we didn’t even have to deal with the pressures of social media. So cut your teen some slack and accept that you’re all doing the best you can.

Next time you’re tempted to use one of the tired statements above, pause and replace it with a positive one instead. Trust me, when raising teens, lots of patience coupled with heaps of humor, love and understanding will take you far. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, take a break and wine a bit. You’ll feel better.

Author's Bio: 

Tyler Jacobson is a husband, father, freelance writer with experience with organizations that help troubled teens and parents. His areas of focus include: parenting, social media, addiction, mental illness, and issues facing teenagers today. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn