Dan Britton is the NextGen Pastor at CrossRoads Church in Rocklin, and he spends a lot of time listening to youth talk about their issues in their cyber social realms. He recently released a guide called, “Pulling Teeth: How to make a communication breakthrough with your teen”. This book offers strategic insights for effective communication in our cyber-powered world. “One thing I believe would help parents have real breakthrough with their teens is acceptance,” he said. “That doesn’t mean hands off it; just means to remove expectations of perfection. When a teen is loved in this way they develop a freedom to become who they want to be.”
Establishing the “rod” for the modern parent requires us to keep it simple in a world that wants to complicate everything and intensifies emotions. So in this challenging environment this book offers some ways to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the communication between you and your teen. Some of the key concepts for the parent responsibility in establishing an open channel of communication include: active listening without criticizing and judging; accepting intensity of emotion with a calm confidence; and keeping an open mind with a commitment to resolve conflict with discussion, not arguments.
Britton’s tips for communication breakthroughs:
- Use social media to your advantage – to keep your hand on the pulse of what is happening in your teen’s life. Check their social media sites, and leave very few comments… use the technology to discover their interests.
- Listen. Let them say what is on their heart and mind without interrupting and trying to take control. And then repeat what you heard them say. Give them your attention.
- Healthy worldview of emotion. Help them recognize their emotions. If there is an outburst, ask them what they are feeling. Ask them to identify the emotion and perhaps keep a journal. Keep in mind that emotions have no moral value. They are not good or bad, they just are. There are no bad emotions, just bad reactions. Explain that while they cannot control what they feel, they do have control over how they react.
- Validate emotions as legitimate, even though they don’t make sense.
- Keep an open mind about youth trends and your child’s interests.
- Resolve conflict with discussion not arguments
You can find Britton’s book at Amazon: Pulling Teeth: How to Make a Communication Breakthrough with your Teen.