How to Talk Teen: From Rolling Your Eyes to Saying ‘Whatever



Teenagers can sound grumpy, rude, and monosyllabic unless, of course, you understand what they are trying to tell you.

Now a new book ‘What does my teenager think? Practical Child Psychology for Modern Parents’ offers a translation guide for bewildered parents.

The book covers over 100 challenging things your child will tell you.

Discuss what they really mean, and then offer the best psychology to use when formulating your answer.

Here the authors, parenting expert Tanith Carey, and clinical psychologist Dr. Angharad Rudkin, show you how to “talk teen” and respond in a way that your teen understands.

Do you sometimes feel like your teen speaks an impossible language to understand? Fortunately, a parenting expert and psychologist have revealed how to decode it in a new book (stock image)

Do you sometimes feel like your teen speaks an impossible language to understand? Fortunately, a parenting expert and psychologist have revealed how to decode it in a new book (stock image)

Parenting expert Tannith Carey (pictured) and clinical psychologist Dr. Angharad Rudkin have written a book to share tips on how to communicate with teens.

Parenting expert Tannith Carey (pictured) and clinical psychologist Dr. Angharad Rudkin have written a book to share tips on how to communicate with teens.

Your teenager says, “Whatever!”

Script: When he says he will dock his son’s allowance to be home later than promised, he says he couldn’t care less.

What your teenage son means: ‘You may have power over me for now, but I’m going to have one over you pretending I don’t care about your rules. It also looks cooler and bothers you more. ‘

What you listen: “While I’m glad this doesn’t turn into a row, it’s annoying when he shrugs as if he doesn’t respect my authority.”

How to reply: Instead of stewing or feeling powerless, tackle the problem head-on. When your teen says, ‘Whatever,’ say, ‘I feel like you’re mad and upset with me. You probably don’t want your allowance reduced, but we need to talk about my reasons as well as how you feel.

Let your teen express her point directly. This will break the impasse and open the door to dialogue. It will also send the signal that, instead of allowing communication between you to break, you want to keep talking and understanding your point of view.

Her teenager says, ‘You are so embarrassing’

Script: When your favorite song plays in the car and you sing, teens whistle at you “You’re so embarrassing.”

What your teenage son means: ‘I have not yet formed my own identity. Since I belong to the same family, anything you do also affects me, and anything I consider out of the ordinary makes me feel weird.

The authors advise against taking it personally when your teen says

The authors advise against taking it personally when your teen says “you’re so embarrassing.” Photo: the cover of the book

What do you hear: ‘I have spent years loving this child, so it is painful to hear that she is ashamed of me. I’m just trying to have fun and we used to sing songs together in the car. Why do you care so much now?

How to reply: Teenagers are very self-aware because they have an ‘imaginary audience’ in their minds watching their every move, even when no one is there. Teens are also desperate to want to fit in. This phase is due to the fact that her son is now looking to leave her family’s ‘tribe’ and join another of her peers, so she is desperate to be seen playing. her rules’

You may even feel physically uncomfortable. Brain scans that show teens feel more of a stress response than adults if they’re embarrassed.

Avoid taking it personally. Accept that finding yourself embarrassing is part of your necessary separation to become your own person in a few years. Once she has a stronger sense of herself and doesn’t worry about what others think so much, she will love you just the way you are.

Her teenager says, “I’m not rolling my eyes!”

Script: While her teenager is out for a walk, she suggests that she put on her hat and scarf because it’s cold outside.

What your teenage son means: ‘There he goes again complaining and telling me things I already have. Now I’m old enough to make my own decisions and I hate being told what to do.

Dr. Angharad Rudkin (pictured) and Tanith Carey say that if your teen rolls his eyes a lot, it's a sign that he needs to improve his communication.

Dr. Angharad Rudkin (pictured) and Tanith Carey say that if your teen rolls his eyes a lot, it’s a sign that he needs to improve his communication.

What do you hear: ‘I’m just trying to help. It is for your own good. Why do you have to put out that face that makes me feel like an idiot?

How to reply: Like knocking on the door, a teenage girl who rolls her eyes is a passive aggressive way of letting her know she doesn’t want to play by her rules.

While 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 signal to warn you not to go further with questions about a sensitive topic, such as school work or love life.

Instead of seeing it as a rejection that separates you, if your teen rolls his eyes, see it as a sign that he needs to spend more time to improve his communication more directly.

Right now, listen instead of talking and refraining from criticism. By rebuilding their bond, teens are more likely to remove the gaze from their arsenal of self-defense techniques.

Her teenager says, ‘This is so boring.’

Script: Her son complains that the family activity he has chosen for the afternoon is not interesting.

What your teenage son means: ‘I want to decide what I do and when I do it. I am too old for this now. What you hear: ‘I have spent time and effort planning an activity that we can all do together. It hurts when he rejects my efforts. Also, why do I feel guilty for not entertaining him?

How to reply: Your child may be playing the role of the bored teenager who is too good for ‘childish’ family activities. If your teen is also using their phone as their favorite entertainment at any spare time, it may also be difficult at first to focus on activities that don’t offer the same instant gratification, and they may be interpreting their feelings of discomfort as boredom. Saying ‘I’m bored.’ It can also be a defense mechanism because teens often feel secretly unpleasant and fear that we don’t want them around. So let him know in a joyful way that it is good to be together and he values ​​being part of the activity. Ask him to join for five minutes and don’t criticize his efforts. The chances once it gets going, and your guard goes down, you’re going to be left with that.

The authors recommend taking time to talk to your teen about his goals if he feels anxious about his homework. Photo: Illustration from the book.

The authors recommend taking time to talk to your teen about his goals if he feels anxious about his homework. Photo: Illustration from the book.

Your teenager says: “Everyone writes this.”

Script: As it is late, check if your teenager has finished his homework. She says yes, but when you look at her file, she hardly writes a few paragraphs. What your child means: ‘What happens on my phone is much more entertaining and rewarding than homework. Now I’ve left it so late, it feels daunting and I’m not sure where to start. My parents really don’t know how much work I expect my teachers to do, so I will confuse them and say that is all that is expected. ”

What do you hear: I’m so tired of having to scold her. How will you pass the exams and move on in life if you don’t even make the least effort now?

How to reply: While you may feel anxious, avoid the temptation to call her lazy. Labeling her will only contribute to any feeling of shame or resentment and she will protect herself by becoming even more reserved.

If your teen already feels that she is not doing well in school, she may also be doing the least to protect herself. While some teens respond to academic pressure by putting in more effort, others think they will fail anyway, so it feels safer not to try.

For teens to be successful, they also have to believe that they are trying to get good grades for themselves, not to please parents.

In a neutral moment when you are not rowing, talk about what you want to do in life and how you plan to get there and how you will have more options about what you do after school if you try hard now.

Also recognize that while schoolwork is not always easy, it generally becomes easier with practice.

However, if you continue to avoid homework, check with teachers if you may have any underlying learning difficulties that make academic work more difficult for you.

What does my teenager think? Practical Child Psychology for Modern Parents, ‘featuring over 100 situations with teens, I posted on DK and came out on May 14.

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