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Talking to Your Adolescent or Teen About Problems

Topic Overview

Although communicating with your adolescent or teen can be challenging, it is important to continually make the effort. This is especially important when your child acts out with problem behaviors or seems troubled in some way.

When attempting to talk with your adolescent or teen about problems or concerns, schedule a "date" in a private and quiet place. During this meeting, focus on these techniques to help you facilitate conversation:

  • Listen carefully.
  • Talk honestly about specific situations and how certain behaviors affect other people. Convey how even though the behavior may not necessarily be "wrong," it makes you feel anxious.
  • Discuss how you will deal with problem behaviors and how you will reward responsible behavior.
  • Brainstorm ways to deal with a problem and how to choose a solution.
  • Encourage your teen to join a school club, sports team, or church group to meet new friends if his or her current friends often get into trouble.
  • Help your teen plan for the summer months or other times when there are long vacations from school. Focus on productive activities, such as youth programs, camps, volunteer programs, or possible jobs.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Last Revised February 28, 2012

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