How often have you tried having a meaningful conversation with your teen daughter and the well-meaning chat ended up in an argument with either one of you walking out in frustration or anger?
Here are some pointers that can help making your quality time with your teen daughter an enjoyable experience and not something you dread:
1. Don’t Only Hear, Listen:
Whether you are sitting for an informal and light-hearted conversation, for a serious talk or when she is seeking your opinion, it is a must that you engage in the conversation. By engage, I mean doing more than just hearing. Show that you are focusing on the issue that concerns her or a funny episode she wants to share. Do not seem preoccupied or look distracted with on-goings of the day. Your "only hearing" or "actually listening" will become apparent by your facial expression and your feedback while conversing with her. This could set the tone of willingness to chat with you the next time she feels like talking to you or seeking your advice. (Source: About.com Guide; Report Title: ‘Active Listening’; Author: Denise Witmer; URL: http://parentingteens.about.com/cs/disciplin1/a/activelistening.htm)
2. Watch the Body Language:
This applies to watching your own body language and your teen daughter’s as well. Your own body language will tell your daughter if you are open to an issue or opinion or discussion or not, whether you are tense about something, are willing to be a part of her life, distracted about something at the time of the conversation or even if you are uncomfortable discussing something. She may not decipher these signals coming from you consciously, but realize them at a sub-conscious level during the conversation or analyze them later. She may decide on not sharing often afterward.
Similarly, you should watch her body language as well and be aware of it. It will signal her mental and emotional disposition which you can rectify as per the demand of the situation.
3. External Interruptions:
When you plan to have together time, make sure potential disturbances are taken care of. You may want to turn off the television or keep your cell phone on mute/vibrate mode.