Teens can appear sulky, rude, and monosyllabic – unless, of course, you understand what they’re trying to tell you.
Now a new book ‘What’s My Teenager Thinking? Practical Child Psychology for Modern Parents, offers a translation guide for confused parents.
The book covers over 100 difficult things your teen will tell you.
It examines what they really mean – and then offers the best psychology to use when framing your answer.
Here the authors, parenting expert Tanith Carey and clinical psychologist, Dr. Angharad Rudkin, show you how to ‘talk to the teenage years’ – and respond in a way your teenager will understand.
Do you sometimes feel like your teenager is speaking a language you can’t understand? Fortunately, a parenting expert and a psychologist revealed how to decode it in a new book (stock image)
Parenting expert Tannith Carey (pictured) and clinical psychologist Dr Angharad Rudkin, wrote a book sharing tips for communicating with teens
Your teenager says, “Whatever! “
Scenario: When you say you’re going to tie up your teenager’s allowance to be home later than promised, he says he doesn’t care.
What your teenager means: “You might have power over me right now, but I’m going to have power over you by pretending I don’t care about your rules.” It also looks cooler and annoys you more.
What you hear : “While I’m glad it doesn’t turn into an argument, it’s annoying when he shrugs like he doesn’t respect my authority.”
How to respond: Instead of simmering or feeling helpless, tackle the problem head on. When your teenager says “Whatever” say, “I can tell you are angry and angry with me. You probably don’t want your allowance cut, but we need to talk about my reasons, as well as how you feel.
Let your teenager express their point of view directly. This will break the deadlock and open the door to dialogue. It will also send the signal that rather than dropping the communication between you, you want to keep talking and understanding his point of view.
Your teenager says: “You are so embarrassing”
Scenario: When your favorite song is blaring in the car and you are singing along at the same time, your teens will hiss at you “You are so embarrassing”.
What your teenager wants to say: “I haven’t formed my own identity yet. Being related, everything you do also rubs off on me and anything that I consider out of the ordinary makes me feel weird.
The authors advise avoiding taking it personally when your teenager says “you are so embarrassing.” Pictured: the cover of the book
What you hear: ‘I’ve spent years loving this child, so it’s hurtful to hear that she’s ashamed of me. I’m just trying to have fun and we used to sing songs together in the car. Why does she care so much now? ‘
How to respond: Teenagers are extremely embarrassed because they have an “imaginary audience” in their minds watching their every move, even when no one is around. Teenagers also desperately want to fit in. This phase is because your child is now looking to leave your family ‘tribe’ and join another one of her peers, so she is desperate to be seen playing by their ‘rules’.
She may even feel physically uncomfortable. Brain scans show that adolescents experience more stress than adults if they feel embarrassed.
Avoid taking it personally. Accept that finding you embarrassing is part of the separation she needs to be her own person in a few years. Once she has a stronger sense of herself and no longer cares about what other people think, she will start loving you for who you are again.
Your teenager says, “I’m not rolling my eyes! “
Scenario: When your teenager is out for a walk, you suggest that they put on their hat and scarf because it is cold outside.
What your teenager means: “There she is, she’s starting to fidget again and tell me things that I already have now.” I’m old enough now to make my own decisions and hate being told what to do.
Dr Angharad Rudkin (pictured) and Tanith Carey say if your teenager rolls their eyes a lot, it’s a sign you need to improve your communication
What you hear: “I’m only trying to help. It is for his own good. Why do you have to make that face that makes me feel silly. ‘
How to respond: Like a slamming door, a teenage girl rolling her eyes is a passive and aggressive way of letting you know she doesn’t want to play by your rules.
While it’s condescending, it’s also fleeting enough that you can’t say anything until it’s too late. How you respond should also depend on the context. In other situations, rolling your eyes can also be a non-verbal cue to warn you not to go any further with questions about a sensitive topic, like schoolwork or love life.
Rather than seeing it as a rejection that pulls you apart, if your teenager rolls his eyes a lot, see it as a sign that you need to spend more time improving your communication in a more direct way.
At such times, listen rather than talk and avoid criticism. By rebuilding your bond, teens are more likely to remove eye-rolling from their arsenal of self-defense techniques.
Your teenager says: “This is so boring”
Scenario: Your teenager complains that he does not find the family activity you have chosen for the afternoon interesting.
What your teenager wants to say: “I want to decide what to do and when to do it. I’m too old for that now. What you hear: “I spent my time and effort planning an activity that we can all do together. It hurts when he rejects my efforts. Besides, why do I feel guilty for not having entertained him?
How to respond: Your son may be playing the part of the bored teenager who is too cool for “kid” family activities. If your teenager also uses their phone as their favorite entertainment at any free time, they may also have trouble initially focusing on activities that don’t offer the same instant gratification – and may interpret their feelings of being. discomfort as well as boredom. Saying “I’m bored” can also be a defense mechanism, as teens often feel secretly hateful and worry that we don’t want them. So let her know in a light way that it’s good to be together and that you enjoy her being a part of the activity. Ask him to participate for five minutes and do not criticize his efforts. The odds once he gets there and lets his guard down, he’ll stick with it.
The authors recommend taking the time to talk to your teen about their goals if you feel anxious about their homework. Pictured: book illustration
Your teenager says: “Everyone writes as much”.
Scenario: Since it’s late, you check to see if your teenager has finished her homework. She says yes – but when you look at her file she barely wrote a few paragraphs. What Your Teenager Means: “What’s happening on my phone is a lot more entertaining and rewarding than homework. Now that I’ve left it so late, it’s intimidating and I don’t know where to start. My parents don’t really know how much work I have to do by my teachers, so I’m going to confuse them and say that’s all that’s expected.
What you hear: “I’m so tired of having to harass her. How is she going to pass her exams and be successful in life if she doesn’t even put in the minimum amount of effort now. ‘
How to respond: Even if you feel anxious, avoid the temptation to call her lazy. Tagging it will only contribute to feelings of shame or resentment and it will protect itself by becoming even more secretive.
If your teenager already feels like he’s not doing well in school, he may be doing the minimum to protect himself. While some teens respond to school pressure by trying harder, others think they will fail anyway, so it’s safer not to try.
For teens to be successful, they also need to believe that they are trying to get good grades for themselves, not to please parents.
At a neutral time when you are not rowing, talk about what she wants to do with her life and how she plans to get there and how she will have more choice over what she does after school if she does. efforts now.
Also recognize that while schoolwork is not always easy, it usually gets easier with practice.
However, if she continues to avoid assignments, check with teachers if she may have any underlying learning difficulties that make schoolwork more difficult for her.
“What is my teenager thinking? Child Psychology Practice for Modern Parents, ”Featuring Over 100 Situations With Adolescents, published by DK and released May 14.