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Emotional Link

Communicating with Pre-Teens
Learn the language of transition - The pre-teen period is very significant one in any child's life. At this age, the non stop chatter suddenly gives way to mumbling, gestures and one word replies.
  • "I am talking to you not a brick wall".
  • "How many times do I need to tell you to keep the volume down?"
  • "Why haven't you finished your work? It's so late."
  • "Why don't you ever listen when I talk to you?"
At times parents' lack of communication skills, block possibility of conversation. Use your two ears and one mouth in proper proportion. Listen twice as much as you talk with this age group. Give them 100% of your attention. Maintain eye contact. Listen to them-do not just hear the words. Listen entirely to what the child is saying without interrupting. When the child is not able to solve the problem on his own, guide him towards a solution.

A Few Golden Rules:
  • Don't criticize
  • Give Respect
  • Give Space
  • One-to-one conversations
  • Learn something from them
  • Be Patient

Don't criticize - Criticism not only lowers a child's self-esteem, it also shuts the doors of communication. Avoid over-reacting when they tell you something you may not agree with. No Labels - Good or bad, labels never works well. Labelling a child 'bad' causes them to behave more in that manner. Labelling them 'good' can have equally drastic consequences - the child feels pressured to perform well and may cease to be his true self.

Give Respect - Respect is a two way street. To get it, we have to give it. Respect in the way we talk and listen to our children- and specially pre-teens - is extremely important.

Give Space - Let pre-teens have their space. They are going through a lot of growth, physically, emotionally and mentally- be there to support them, but don't push them.

One-to-one conversations - In families with younger children, most of the conversation, say around the dinner table, will be dominated by them. A little more effort may be required if your child is an introvert by nature. Make the time to have one-to-one conversation with your pre-teen.

Learn something from them - Ask them to tell you about something in their area of expertise- learn a video game and play it with them, or ask about the latest music, or any other common area of interest that you both may have. It will make them feel good about themselves and boost their self esteem.

Be Patient- Be patient if your child takes time. Some children may take some time to open up and share and some others may do it faster. Just don't give up on them - ever.

Build a strong foundation of relationship with your pre-teens through lot of love and care.
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