Talking to Your Stressed-Out Teen

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This article from NPR has some wise advice about talking to your teen about the aspects in their life that stress them out.  Here are a few important highlights of the article:

“When teens are overwhelmed, parents may try to connect with their kids’ feelings by drawing on their own childhood experiences. They may say things like, “When I was fourteen, I had a job, and I still did my homework and made time for my friends. I know that you can do this, too.'”

They mean well when they try to connect with their teens in this comparative way, but often it prompts a communication breakdown.

“Teenagers are looking for proof that their parents don’t understand them and bringing up these examples only confirms that you’re not on the same wavelength,”…

When adolescents are distressed, most parents are inclined to try to solve their problems, but often what teens really need is help developing problem-solving skills of their own…It’s particularly important to teach adolescents how to develop a specific type of empathy called cognitive empathy…If empathy helps us sympathize with how another person is feeling, cognitive empathy also allows us to try to understand someone else’s perspective and how they perceive the world, even when our feelings differ.

Posted in 12-14 - Chris Ambroso