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Tips for connecting with your difficult teen

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Watch your tone: Tone of voice can be crucial in the parent/teen dynamic, especially when confronting defiance. A teen’s tone, such as frustration and even silence, can push a parent to react. In comparison, children are sensitive to a parent’s tone and sometimes hypersensitive. What a parent considers a firm tone can be interpreted by a teen as yelling. Yelling or lecturing can make them stop listening.
Stick to the goals: Before initiating a conversation with your teen, have a goal or information to relate. Teenagers can throw a conversation off track. So clearly state what you want your teen to know and keep the topic on course.
Show appreciation and praise: Parents can never underestimate the value of this when motivating their child. Acknowledge their accomplishments along the way. When you evaluate their progress and critique their work, start with sincere compliments before easing into criticism.
Consider whether they've experienced a traumatic event: Children who've experienced a death in the family, suffered abuse or neglect, are dealing with serious issues at home or other traumatic experiences may act and react in unexpected ways. If you're concerned that your child's behavior may be cause by a trauma of some kind, you can seek help by calling the Mental Health Association of Palm Beach County for additional guidance at 561.801.4357 or the Children's Behavioral Health Collaborative at 561-366-9400.


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