Podcast: How to talk with a teen

Dec 13, 2010, 2:51 AM | Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 3:46 pm

PAW, POS, ROLF, TISNF, PHAT. You probably recognize those as text or instant messaging acronyms for: Parents are watching; parent over shoulder; rolling on the floor laughing; this is so not fair; pretty hot and tempting.

Texting is a second language for most parents. It’s one teens are fluent in. Teens speak a different language than we do – not only with the words they use, but with the messages they communicate.

Parents have their own communication issues with teens. We assume we know what our kids are thinking and what they’ll do because. As moms and dads, we are wired to anticipate our kids’ every move. We know once a baby gets a hold of something he’ll put it in his mouth. When they’re just learning to crawl, we watch to make sure they don’t get too close to the stairs. That anticipation has led to a huge baby-proofing industry.


When our babies become teens we need to revise our thinking. We can’t assume we know what they’ll say or do next. We need to communicate in a different way.

Listen to a short discussion about this on a podcast I did with Dr. Jennifer Powell-Lunder .

She’s co-author, along with Dr. Barbara Greenberg, of Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent’s Guide to Becoming Bilingual .

Their website is TalkingTeenage.com.

A also found a cool little notebook this weekend that has some more ideas about communicating with our kids.

“Instant Messages: Interactive Notes for Connecting with Your Kids” seems like one of those precious, sentimental Hallmark books. It is from a Hallmark store. I like the concept of sparking conversations with your kids by filling out a notecard that has a suggested subject, and leaving it for them to discover in their room.

Here are some examples of the topic starters:

Write a question, any question and pass it back to me. I promise I’ll answer within 24 hours

I know I don’t tell you enough, but I am so proud of you…here’s why.

Here’s something I bet you didn’t know about me. Your turn.

Sometimes I wish I had an undo button. Here’s why.

Yes, I bought the notebook. I’m sappy that way.

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Podcast: How to talk with a teen