One of the hallmarks of conscious parenting is the tenet that our children are their own divine independent growing souls with their own agendas. They may need our love, guidance, support, and affirmation for their soul’s journeys; but they do not need our projections. That’s why we have to do our emotional work and be fully responsible for our own thoughts, actions, and feelings, so that they can be responsible for their thoughts, actions and feelings. Knowing how to communicate our thoughts and feelings may not come naturally which is why it helps to have some communication models.
Communicating consciously to build a happier, meaningful and more satisfying relationship with our tweens, teens and young adults means we must listen as non-judgmentally as possible. Listening this way affirms that our teens are own person. They occupy a different social location than adults which means they have a unique personal and cultural perspective. But many of us, did not grow up with healthy communication role models. Consciously practicing co-creation communication skills may help us honor our teens’ journeys. Co-creation communication is simply a mindset and skillset that engages teens and parents to be fully responsible for building the relationship.
To open this kind of communication the skill of open-ended questioning may be helpful. Sociologists and journalists use an interview technique called open-ended questions. This skill may help us get to know our teens in a different way. The following are a few open-ended questions you can use to start conversations. Remember the purpose of this exercise is to simply listen and learn.
Open Ended Question Examples
Open-ended questions, don’t direct the person being interviewed to answer any specific way. Open-ended questions are phrased in a way to require more than a yes or no answer. Each question is about a specific area of teen life and has a sample follow up question. As you practice open-ended questions, listen and learn conversation starters you will come up with your own natural follow up questions.
1.) Who do you consider to be your best friend right now?
a.) What do you like best about ______ (name the best friend)?
b.) Do you hang out with ________ at lunch?
2.) Tell me about your favorite class today? Or,
3.) Tell me about your least favorite class?
Tip: This is not a conversation about homework or grades. Teens are more likely to respond to coaching about homework if they believe you are interested in how they feel about school.
Leisure Time or Hobbies
4.) What do you like to do on weekends when you have alone time?
a.) Is there something you would like to do with your friends that you don’t have time or money to do?
5.) Who is your favorite artist, singer or band right now?
a.) What do you like about them? This may lead to an invitation to listen to music.
Tip: Don’t by-pass this opportunity.
6.) What would you like to do with the family this weekend?
a.) What bugs you the most about your little sister?
Tip: Be prepared for the answer without jumping into advice giving. This is the perfect opportunity to compliment your teen’s sibling relationship. You may want to say something like this, “Thank you for not yelling the other day when Ashley went into your room without permission.”
Personal Development, Health or Spirituality
7.) I have been trying to meditate, how do you best re-charge your batteries after a stressful day at school these days?
8.) I have been working on eating more vegetables, do you have a health goal to share?
If it feels awkward, try again. Then next time you are alone together, try again. Relationship building is hard work and it takes practice over time.
Tip: Ask these questions casually. Teens might feel put on the spot if they feel interrogated or think they will get in trouble for their answers. One mom shared she has these conversations in the car when traveling to school or after-school activity. When teens are not required to have eye contact, they don’t feel interrogated or threatened by open-ended questions.
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More conversation starters:
It’s 2020 and everyone is talking about transformation. You are overwhelmed and maybe a little scared. You have a tween, teen or launching young adult!
- Perhaps you are tired of walking on eggshells around your tween, teen or launching young adult?
- Maybe it’s the disrespectful communication from your teen or teen drama, that triggers you?
- Or are you secretly afraid your child won’t make it as an adult?
I felt all of this and more until I awakened to a new mindset and practiced respectful communication skills. The more I tried to control my two young daughters when they first entered their tween years, the more friction and distance their was between us. When I learned to share vulnerably from my heart with them, they drew closer to me and sought my counsel and support naturally.
I learned to listen so my teen daughters would open up and I learned how to share my heart in an authentic way that made them want to listen to me.
In fact, those former triggers I had about sassiness and teen drama, became the things we used to connect deeply. I learned how to read the “disrespect” I perceived as their own fear, and we got to the root of it, together. I learned when to engage and when to let go. We grew closer as a result. I was able to support their launch into young adulthood.
It wasn’t always easy and it was sometimes messy. There was a divorce and family illness in the mix and the time I spent as a single parenthood was tough. But today we have honest, mutually respectful relationships. Even as young adults they seek my advice.
I want to support your parenting journey and offer you the mindset and skills that I learned to you, to help you grow the close relationship you long for with your child at every step of their development and I want to support you to learn how to grow your own rich relationship with yourself so you are ready when they launch to enjoy all life has to offer.
What is Relationship Coaching for Parents and Tweens, Teens or Launching Young Adults?
Coaching sessions occur online at a time convenient to you. You learn how apply the communication skills I teach to not only support your teen’s growth but grow ways to become your most authentic self.
I am passionate about helping parents and teens co-create the relationships they truly long to build together. That’s why I became a parent coach to help families (even those in difficult times of transition) to cultivate a more peaceful home by communicating heart to heart. The approach is called conscious co-creation. It focuses on growing the awareness and skills that parents and teens need to jointly build the relationship that work for both. I can help you get Back on Track with your tween or teen.
Recently, I’ve been helping teens launch to college or their next stage of life also. It includes making adjustments to college life.
What issues do you deal with?
Parent and Teen Relationship Coaching: I help establish respectful communication and overcome communication barriers and breakdown.
For Parents: I help parents in conflict, navigating divorce, co-parenting, single parenthood and how to embrace and enjoy your empty nests.
For Tweens, Teens and Young Adults: I help with parent problems, homework hassles, digital dangers, dating and substance abuse. I am also a chemical dependency counselor. I have even helped teens deal with the pressures of college life or a new job.
How Can I Help You?
I offer individual or group coaching packages. I have also written a book with sample conversations of conscious communication and exercises at the end of each chapter, titled How to Raise Respectful Parents: Better Communication for Teen and Parent Relationships
What can I expect?
No blame, just support, skills building and a few suggestions for a complicated world! I offer a free Back on Track Assessment Call. If we are a match, you can enter private coaching or online group coaching.
Contact me at 956-250-3689 or email, Laura@LauraLReagan.com. If time is of the essence, consider my course, Tune Into Your Teen by Tuning Into Yourself. You can find it in The Family Alchemists University.
What are other parents saying?
Laura has helped me tremendously as a parent coach! My teen son and I were estranged following difficulties with his father. And the counselor we were going to, was unable to coach me to be able to reach my teen, beyond the fences and hurt walls that he’d placed between us. Laura stepped in and with great kindness, understanding and wisdom, was able to get me to change my entire approach to parenting my teen son. Our relationship underwent a radical change as I started implementing her suggestions and advice, and he and I are now affectionate with each other, communicating about big and small matters, without any blocks, and building trust again, thanks to Laura’s knowledge and coaching, she has so professionally, kindly and generously shared with me. -Priya B., mother of teen son
Laura was a Godsend to me. With all I learned, I feel a sense of calm empowerment for the first time in YEARS! I even feel a sense of calm about my teens’ future. Before, I felt my life was flooded in chaos, but she helped me practice positive communication skills that conveyed my heart. I always looked forward to our next session. I highly recommend her! -Linda E., mother of twin teen daughters