It is important that young people feel safe confiding in their parents and seeking their counsel. Here are some ways that you can help build positive communication in your family.
- Be willing to talk with your children while driving, riding, or walking. Sometimes not having to make constant eye contact can make your child more comfortable.
- Use mealtimes to learn about each family member’s taste in music. Choose one night a week as music night and rotate who gets to choose.
- Hang a whiteboard on your refrigerator or a common area, such as an entryway. Use it to write loving messages to each other or to let everyone know where you are, how you can be reached, and when you will be home.
- Regardless of your teenagers’ interests and current involvement, have regular sit-down conversations with them about their commitments to schoolwork, friendships, jobs, and so on. Make sure they are making intentional decisions about how to spend their time, and that their choices are respectful of your family’s schedule.
- Encourage your children to keep in contact with long-distance relatives through emails, phone calls, and mail. Have them exchange photographs and artwork to display in your home.
RECOMMENDED READING: Conversations on the Go: Clever Questions to Keep Teens and Grown-ups Talking by Mary Ackerman
Search Institute has identified 40 building blocks of healthy development, known as Developmental Assets, that help adolescents to grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. Visit us here every Wednesday to read about different ways that you, your family, and your community can take action to help equip our young people develop resilience and achieve success in life.