Enjoying the Communication with Your Teenager – A Parent’s Art of Silence

Three Key Initial Steps to Keep the Connection with Your Teenagers

By: Catherine Varga

A wise man was asked: “Where did you learn the art of silence?” The wise man was tempted to answer, but he changed his mind and practiced the art.

We all say it: “Teenagers today are impossible. They show no respect. It’s impossible to communicate with them.” If any TV show is about teenagers they show their own desperation and the desperation of their parents. Advice flows around us from being clear, strict and relentless to praising them even when they don’t deserve that.

They seem weird and they act weird, aren’t they?

Well, maybe they act weird, and they definitely feel weird. Their body and brain changes so fast in so many areas! Who do you think is most confused about these changes? Whose problem is bigger – theirs or yours? They are becoming adults and part of them wants to stay a child?

They also seem to be helpful, caring and communicate quite well with their friends, other adults, anywhere else but at home. However, the way help, caring and communication is handled at home will shape them the most for their future years. They need you to model for them how to. Without telling them how to!

There is a saying about this generation – “This generation of youngsters demand respect before they give respect.”  It’s not new to this generation! It’s just a generation, somehow clearer about this.

It’s difficult to adjust to their changes these changes, many of them sudden. Parents turn into non-stop ‘fixers and correctors”, by choosing to:

  • Criticize, nag, give advice, be ironic at every little details – all their time together
  • Do everything for them until the teen feel that they are unable to do anything
  • Talk sweetly, praise, and bribe, whatever the teen with godly belief in the self-esteem

movement, even when the self-esteem it’s unearned

  • Avoid being around the teenager as much as possible – practically abandoning the teen.

The parent to teen communication and connection may end up broken

You might be suprrised to know that teenagers need the parents and their approval but in more structured way:

  1. a) Stay around the house as much as possible, even if you don’t communicate – more than ever.
  1. b) Let them talk freely so they can clarify their thoughts – they, not you, have to clarify their thoughts – listen, be quiet and refrain from making comments – practice the art of silence.
  1. c) Praise the effort and not the result when they achieved something. Remember working hard is many times an achievement in itself even if the result is not always the one desired.


Well, sometimes they might shout and use foul language. Watch your language and don’t use foul language in any situation. Only then, you’ve earned the right to say: ”In this house, foul language is not acceptable.” And walk away.

Keep in mind that fould language affects our sense of decency. Learn and model to release tension with socially acceptable expressions.

When you use foul language you might think that it enables you to release your tension. When your teen uses foul words, it raises the tension between both of you. You, the parent, have a choice!

Catherine Varga – Copyright 2010