Effectively monitoring and communicating with teenagers without making them feel controlled is essential for their emotional and physical development. Every school has specific communication strategies, they practice active learning, indulge in academic and social practices, and believe in cooperation among one another in a classroom. Parents might not do the same at home since different guardians have different tactics for dealing with their children.
Since a child begins learning at their home first, how parents behave with their teens shapes their personality and perspective towards life.
Some parents believe in extreme monitoring. Like tracking a car through a GPS, they choose to follow social media usage patterns and other behaviors of their growing teen. Although this might be for their good, most teens feel uncomfortable and that their parents are trying to control them.
Hence, effective communication strategies don’t only focus on controlling a child, it is a monitoring and socializing pattern that builds a positive relationship where both the stakeholders are honest with each other without the fear of judgment. A teacher is required by default to adapt such effective communication strategies to foster the development of soft skills and allow teens to shape their personalities positively.
When teens trust their parents and teachers, they are the first people students would go up to. Here is how you can be there for them and establish a good communication line with your teens;
Be a listener first
When your students hit puberty, they crave a lot of attention even though they might appear to be distant. At times like this, and at times when they truly need you, be a good listener first before providing any advice or even reacting. Being a good listener does not mean you have to remain seated quietly without interrupting them, through your gestures let them know that you are actively paying attention without any judgment. Do it even when you don’t agree with them.
They should realize that this is a safe space where they can pour their heart out and feel protected by their parents or teachers while simultaneously steering them away from their problems. Instead of directly interrogating them, try asking gentle open-ended questions and guiding them into thinking out loud clearly to come to a solution.
Active listening allows you to have a grasp over your teenagers but giving bizarre or exaggerated reactions can shut them down. Control your reactions to the extent that they understand you aren’t judging them, but listening for the sake of solving their problems. Reactions play a huge role since they decide the course of activities which would take next, whether they continue sharing or stop entirely from the fear of being judged and controlled.
Turn off panic alarms
Parents have natural panic alarms where anytime the teenagers need to talk, they worry they’re in some deep trouble. The same goes for teachers, they don’t assume the worst, they are simply worried about their students. One example would be finding multiple gaps from a few sessions in an attendance management software and wondering would the teen might be going through. Since the child is not at a stage where they are ready to talk, both parents and teachers should turn off their panic alarms and think from the point of view of their teens. Panicking and reacting will cause them to further stray away from you.
Avoid catastrophizing and over empathizing
They might be students, but they sure aren’t stupid and can guess when their parents or teachers are over-empathizing. The same goes for negative statements held towards them when they perform badly or do end up in serious trouble which is their fault. For example, teachers might scold the child and let them know how they would never become successful in the future due to a few bad scores. Don’t catastrophize and scare your teens, help them understand the potential catastrophe and how to solve it rather than scolding them for something that has already happened. Teach them about the consequences of their actions, and how they can do better in the future.
Provide constructive feedback
Everything requires feedback, whether the school portals such as a fee management system or an individual needing validation or feedback for their work. Parents also need feedback about their parenting skills from teachers when they feel they are into doing enough for their teens. An experienced and professional educator’s feedback about which communication strategies work the best for a teenager and the teens themselves about their personal development can help everyone in the institution.
When everyone plays their part, the institution channels proper administration, teachers practice reliable methodologies, parents support their children, and students coordinate with each of these, it results in a healthy learning environment that relies on effective communication strategies.