Lesson 6 of 7 - learn to parent effectively

Guidelines for Effective
Communication with Kids

Options for improving
your outcomes


By Peter K. Gerlach, MSW
Member NSRC Experts Council

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The Web address of this article is http://sfhelp.org/parent/kids.htm

Updated 04-06-2015

      Clicking underlined links here will open a new window. Other links will open an informational popup, so please turn off your browser's popup blocker or allow popups from this nonprofit Web site. If your playback device doesn't support Javascript, the popups may not display. Follow underlined links after finishing this article to avoid getting lost.

      This brief YouTube video provides a foundation for this article: The video mentions eight self-improvement lessons in this site -  I've reduced that to seven.

      This YouTube presentation by Antony Samaroff ("The Progressive Parent") offers a conversation about some of the info in this article.

      This four-page article offers ways to improve communication outcomes with the young people in your life. It provides...

  • A definition of effective communication

  • Why communicating with typical kids is different than with most adults

  • General options for better outcomes with kids

  • Options for better outcomes with typical pre-teens,

  • Options for handling eight common problems with typical teens; and...

  • Suggestions for adults in typical divorcing families and stepfamilies.

      This article assumes you're familiar with...

  • the intro to this nonprofit Web site, and the premises underlying it 

  • self-improvement Lessons 1 thru 6

  • these general suggestions for improving communication,

  • effective ways to respond to frustrating behaviors;

  • this summary of typical kids' developmental needs; and...

  • research on maternal stress, bonding, and kids' later lives
     


      Think of one or more kids in your life with whom you have significant trouble communicating. Then identify one of more kids you can generally communicate "well" (effectively) with. Keep these children in mind as you absorb the options below... 

  What's the Problem?

      Premises - any behavior in one person that causes a "significant" mental / emotional / physical / and/or spiritual reaction in another person is "communication." Significant is a subjective judgment. Living things instinctively communicate to avoid or reduce current discomforts (fill needs) and to increase local pleasures. So effective human communication...

  • fills each participant's current primary needs well enough,

  • in a way that leaves everyone respecting themselves, each other, and the process between them well enough.

Effective communication on important topics is often hard to achieve between average adults because of their unawareness and unseen psychological wounds. It's often harder to communicate effectively with typical kids, because...

Kids Aren't Adults (Duh)

      People of different cultures struggle to understand each other's alien verbal and non-verbal languages. In some respects, typical kids and adults are "aliens" seeking to be understood and decode each other's unique needs, traits, and languages.

      How would you summarize the key differences between typical adults and minor kids? Compare your view with these generalities: average minor kids...

  • have less life experience and knowledge than adults, so they're more prone to "bad judgment" (mistakes), unrealistic expectations, misunderstandings, wrong assumptions, and disagreeing with adult opinions, requests and demands; and...

  • a child's' true Self (capital "S") is inexperienced, so the child depends on the Selves of their adults to guide and protect them. If their grownups are ruled by false selves, dependent kids acquire and carry significant psychological wounds into adulthood. And...

  • typical kids have shorter attention spans, undeveloped social skills, and smaller vocabularies than average women and men. And kids...

  • have been self-centered since infancy, so they usually have 1-person awareness bubbles unless they're scared, concerned, or curious.

      And average kids...

  • are more impulsive and more focused on immediate gratification than healthy adults. Their Manager subselves are much less developed than those in healthy adults, so kids are more prone to present-moment confusion, volatility, and mind-changing. And most kids...

  • have fewer and different social responsibilities than average adults - i.e. they have fewer needs and priorities to balance, so they can't empathize with the dynamic complexity of adults' needs, priorities, and feelings. In particular, minor kids can't empathize with the complex roles and goals of mother, father, grandmother, and grandfather - tho they may think they can;

      And typical kids and teens...

  • may be less confident and more insecure than average adults, depending on how nurturing (loving), patient, and empathic their caregivers have been so far; and kids...

  • have different age-related interests (priorities) than most adults; and they...

  • are physically weaker than able adults, may be quicker, and are less aware and knowledgeable of  their changing bodies. And typical kids...

  • are (a) more needy of adult and peer acceptance and approval, and (b) more reactive to possible or perceived scorn, disapproval, rejection, and abandonment. And minor children...

  • are less able to identify and describe their feelings and primary needs than healthy, aware adults, and are more apt to be frustrated by this. And also, kids...

  • may be more volatile in (have less control over) expressing their emotions, unless they protectively numb or repress them, And average kids...

  • may be more aggressive (1-up) or more timid and submissive (1-down) than average healthy adults; and they...

  • are often more prone to self-neglect and taking health risks, because they feel invincible and immortal; and...

  • kids instinctively need to test repeatedly when their family system and/or physical environment changes, to learn...

    • "Who makes the rules and decisions now?"

    • "Am I (and any siblings) safe now?"

    • "How important are my needs in this home now?" and...

    • "How much power do I have in my home and family now?"

    Lacking communication skills, kids' testing can seem like rebellion, indifference, disrespect, "forgetting," arrogance, and/or defiance.

        And as they age, typical kids...

  • eventually face the confusing, scary, exciting identity and role transitions from dependent child to independent adult. By their mid-20s, most adults have made this transition, and may be losing empathy for what it feels like. (Remember?) And...

  • typical post-puberty teens and some young adults have additional differences (below). 

      Add your own child / adult differences...

      Pause and think of a special child in your life. Do many of these differences apply to her or him? Does this summary help you accept that every minor child is a kind of "alien" whose traits and language you have to learn in order to express your needs effectively and understand theirs?

      Each of the concurrent differences above ranges from minor to major in impact, depending on the age, personality, family nurturance-level, gender, and life-experience of kids and adults. Typical over-busy, distracted adults often forget what being a child felt like - true?

      Note that immature or childish adults who aren't aware of being controlled by inner kids often have many of these same "alien" traits, compared to psychologically-healthier adults guided by their wise Manager subselves and Higher Power. Also note that some kids from low-nurturance families have to mature quickly to survive, and may seem like "little adults." They are not, no matter how responsible, perceptive, and intelligent they are.

      Bottom line - these many differences combine to make effective communication between adults and typical minor kids hard at any age. Do you agree? Remind yourself of these "alien traits" the next time you're frustrated and/or disrespected by a young person! 

      Now lets look at effective-communication options for...

  • all kids,

  • typical pre-teens, and...

  • average teens.

  Options for Effective Communication with All Kids

      Some techniques help regardless of a child's age, role, or gender, and others may not. Option - pick a specific child, and use this as a checklist. The more you practice and tailor these options, the more automatic they'll become. Circle, check, or star any of these that have special meaning for you.

      In important situations...

1)  Make sure your Self (capital "S") is steadily guiding your other subselves.  (ref. Lesson 1). Otherwise, lower your expectations.

2)  Accept full responsibility for communicating effectively. Kids don't know how yet, so blaming them is unmerited and abusive. Your job is to patiently show and teach them how to communicate in all situations. Part of this responsibility is to make (vs. find) enough undistracted time to talk and listen. Not doing this is major child neglect. 

3Work to maintain an attitude of mutual respect despite your age and knowledge differences. Difficulty doing this often indicates a well-meaning false-self controls you. Periodically ask yourself "What verbal and non-verbal R(espect) messages is this child receiving from me?"

4)  Discuss and agree on a specific definition of effective parenting with relevant adults. Imagine discussing your definition with each of your kids when they become parents themselves...

5Strive to keep a multi-decade view vs. focusing only on immediate needs. Negotiate and work toward achieving clear, long-term co-parenting goals with other family adults. The overall quality of your shared parenting efforts will have major effects on all of you in the coming decades...

6)  Periodically (e.g. at birthdays) review your child/ren's age-appropriate developmental needs and any special adjustment needs, and re/define specifically what you're responsible for in your caregiver role.

      More communication options...

7)  Stay aware of your main priorities, as demonstrated by your actions. How high do "parent effectively" and "communicate effectively" rank with each of your family adults these days? Your dominant personality subselves are making your priorities...

8)  Evolve a clear definition of effective child discipline (Lesson 6), and practice it. Explain what you're doing to your children in age-appropriate language. As parents themselves, your kids will remember what you did and how they felt, more than what you said. Is that true of you and your early caregivers?

9Use respectful, non-defensive hearing checks often. Explain them; and encourage children to use them too. Praise them when they remember to do so, vs. scolding (shaming) them when they don't.

10Maintain comfortable eye contact, and minimize intimidation and shame by getting on the same eye-level with the child where possible to avoid looking down on them.

11Define your criteria for an "important situation." What seems routine or trivial to you can be very important to a child, and vice versa!

12)  In important situations, check each of you for significant emotional, physical, and environmental distractions. Seek to reduce any you find before trying (non-emergency) communications.

      A common invisible distraction is inner conflicts in you and/or the child. Attend them first before tackling mutual problems. Option - when they're old enough, teach kids about personality subselves or "inner voices" and inner conflicts at an age-appropriate level. This takes patience!

13) "Problems" are unfilled needs (discomforts), so identify specifically (a) what you need from the child, and (b) guesstimate what s/he needs from you now. In important situations, work to discern the primary needs causing your respective communication and other needs.

      Be alert for communication-need conflicts, (e.g. I need action, and you need to vent) and resolve them after any internal conflicts. Suggestion - teach the child what communication-needs and need-conflicts are, and how to resolve them.

Suggestion - teach each child about R(espect)-messages and how to evaluate and describe them. Premise: Once respect is lost, it must be earned, so disrespect in a child is often the adults' fault. Do you agree?

      A powerful question to mull or ask is "In this situation, whose needs are most important to me (or you) - yours, or mine?" The best answer is "Your needs and mine are equally important now" - unless there's an emergency.

14Watch for chances to affirm and praise the child when you honestly feel appreciative. Have fun using "dodge-proof" praise-assertions!  Suggestion - review your attitude about pride in yourself and the child, and update it as needed.

15Ponder this memo for perspective on any child. Suggestion - read and discuss the  memo with them in age-appropriate terms.

      Still ,more communication options...

16)  Watch for values conflicts. Teach kids what they are and model and explain how to manage them;  

17) Watch for loyalty (priority) conflicts, and teach kids what they are, and model and explain how to manage them;

18)  Watch for Persecutor - Victim - Rescuer (PVR) triangles and teach kids what they are and model how to manage them;

19)  Study and tailor these options about effective child discipline to fit your values and situation;

20)  Review these effective-assertion steps, and plan to use empathic listening as the child "resists" your assertions.

      Recall - these are options for communicati9ng effectively with typical kids and teens.

21)  Watch your respective E(motion)-levels. If the child's level goes "above their ears," slow down and use empathic listening until their E-level drops "below their ears" and their hearing resumes;

22)  Respectfully model and coach the child to use two-person awareness bubbles, being careful not to shame them. Make a game out of this with young kids;

23)  Mentally review your Personal Bill of Rights, and use it to justify your assertions. Stay aware that the child has equal dignity and rights, regardless of age, gender, and your greater responsibilities and knowledge! If you don't agree, or you "forget" this, a false-self probably controls you;

24)  When appropriate, tell the child whether you're making a request ("No" or "Maybe" are OK responses) or a demand ("No" or "Maybe later") are not acceptable). Demands can be ignored unless you include and enact a meaningful consequence for non-compliance..

25 Ask for and offer hearing checks on important points ("Please tell me what you just heard me say"), and model them with each child. Stay clear that hearing does not necessarily mean agreeing.

26)  Practice process awareness, and watch for communication strengths and blocks; 

27)  Train yourself to be aware of your voice tone, eye contact, and body language. If they don't match your words or each other (a double or mixed message) kids will be confused and distrustful of you but may not say so. "Words may lie, but bodies don't."

28be concrete, brief, and specific. Avoid,,,

  • generalities (like always and never)

  • vague terms and pronouns (like it, them, they, those things, that stuff, sort of, the problem, deal with, work through,...); and avoid...

  • "hand-grenade" (emotionally-provocative) terms and phrases, like stupid, wimp, klutz, disgusting, bitch, childish, etc. (This helps with adults, too!); and avoid ...

  • sarcasm and name-calling. Both promote hurt, shame, rese4ntment, disrespect, and rebellion.

29stay focused on one need or problem at a time until you both feel done with it. Patiently help kids learn the value of this, and how to stay focused; This requires steady self and mutual awareness - i.e. stable two-person awareness bubbles;

30)  keep your language simple, and avoid long explanations and lectures. Don't assume kids know the meaning of common words - check it out - (Ramona, can you tell me what 'distracted' means?"). Intentionally help the child build her/his vocabulary - a win-win project!

31Practice using metaphors and stories to interest kids and illustrate your points (e.g. it's better to teach a hungry person how to fish than to give them a fish;"  and "She was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.")

32)  Apply these communication tips and phrases as appropriate; and...

33)  With specially vexing or complex relationship problems, try mapping your usual communication sequences to spot process problems and options for improvement.

34)  Learn how to spot and decline lose-lose power struggles and teach your child/ren how to manage them;

35)  Learn "good grief" basics, and be alert for chances to help kids grieve. Learn grieving terms, and model and teach the child how to be an effective grief supporter. See Lesson 3.

36)  Avoid...

"mind reading" - assuming you know what a child is thinking, feeling, and needing; and...

dictating what a child should feel ("You must feel real guilty, Ramon.")

interrupting a child, unless s/he is rambling or flooding you with too much information.

These usually send disrespectful ''I'm 1-up!'' messages, despite your good intentions

37)  (add your own communication guidelines)

38) 

39)

      Stretch, breathe, and reflect. We just reviewed...

  • two requisites for effective communication with anyone; (can you name them?)

  • reasons why typical kids are "aliens" compared to average adults;

  • basic requisites for communicating with kids effectively, (can you name them?) and...

  • 36 options for communicating effectively with any child. Most apply equally to adults.

      What are you thinking and feeling now? Which of these options do you want to try? Have you ever seen options like these in one place before? How many adults do you think could name even 15 of these 36 options? Do you think average schools are teaching these communication tools and techniques to average kids? I doubt it.

      Do you agree now that many adults don't know what they don't know about communicating with the youngsters (and adults)? Without informed intervention, their (your) kids will grow up equally unaware. .

  Options for Communicating Better with Pre-teens

      Your awareness of the adult/child differences on p. 1 will shape how effective you are in communicating with pre-teens. So will your knowledge of effective communication basics (Lesson 2). To gauge your knowledge, take this quiz after you finish this article..

      Recall: effective communication occurs when both people...

  • get enough of their current primary needs met...

  • in a way that feels good enough to each person.

      Kids' age affects your communication options, so We'll look at kids under ~6 first, and then at 6 to 12. Numbering continues from p. 1

  Options With Kids Under ~6 Years Old

__  37)  Stay aware that young children..

  • can't identify or describe their current physical and emotional needs very well;

  • will usually focus on their immediate comfort (need-satisfaction);

  • easily get overwhelmed by concurrent needs and emotions;

  • are easily scared by unexpected actions and events; and young kids...  

  • respond primarily to your face, body language, and voice tone rather than your words. Their vocabulary is much smaller than yours, tho they're quick to learn;

      and note that very young kids typically...

  • can't empathize with your and others' needs, so they are naturally "selfish" and resentful if you harshly impose your needs.

  • have a unique mix of needs depending on their gender; and they...

  • are quick to shame (and defend) themselves when they displease adults and/or make "mistakes."

  • Typical young girls and boys need enough:

security

inclusion

praise

guidance

privacy

boundaries

loving attention

to feel valued

encouragement

patient instruction

to feel heard

physical contact

respect

consistency

companionship

play / fun

flexible structure

to test for safety

      Circle the five most important of these 18 common childhood needs. Would other adults in your family agree? The mix of these dynamic needs silently shapes a child's personality, attitudes, relationships, behaviors, and health.

      Reality check: reflect on your earliest years. Did you need each of these? Did you get enough of them? Parental neglect (and psychological wounding) occur when young kids don't get these needs met well enough, often enough. How many typical child-care providers do you think could name (and consistently fill) all 18 of these needs?

      You have more communication options with...

  Kids Between 6 and 12 Years Old

      Patiently acting on these early options will greatly improve your communication success when your young ones become adolescents!

__ Option 38)  Stay aware that older pre-teens...

  • need the same things they needed when younger (above), and...

  • are increasingly able to understand...

__ what needs are (physical and emotional discomforts),

__ that it's normal and OK (vs. weak and shameful) to be "needy,"

__ that it's good to be able to identify and assert what s/he needs in important situations, without anxiety, shame, or guilt

    Option - explain and illustrate each of these two vital skills as appropriate. Practice (a) asking "What do you need (from me) right now?" and then listening; and (b) saying "I need you to ___."

__ 39)  Encourage each child to (a) identify and name their specific communication needs ("I need you to listen to me!") and (b) summarize your needs, when appropriate. Praise children when they can do this, and patiently coach (vs. criticize) them when they can't;

__ 40)  Teach pre-teens _ what effective communication is, and _ what these seven skills are. Model each skill, and periodically explain what they are ("I just gave you a hearing check") when you use them in different situations; Give special attention to modeling and teaching how to listen, assert, and problem-solve.

Recall - these are options for communicating effectively with older pre-teens (~6 to ~12). They extend the general options on p. 1

__ 41)  Steadily encourage each child to value and grow their vocabulary. ("What new words did you learn today?") Explain and illustrate new words, and praise the child for using new words correctly. Give special emphasis to words that describe common emotions, primary needs, and relationship dynamics (e.g. empathy and loyalty).

      Suggestion - try making a range of faces and sounds, and ask the child to name each one ("What am I feeling now?") Then ask the child to make faces and sounds (like a sigh or growl), and you name them.

__ 42)  Model and teach preteens and teens...

_ what their - and other peoples' personal rights are as a dignified person, This is the basis for effective assertion

_ common communication blocks, and how to spot and talk about them (how to use meta-comments). This will make communication problem-solving progressively easier over time! And teach older kids...

_ how to give "dodge-proof" praise, and _ how to accept praise without discomfort, vs. dismissing, discounting, or deflecting it; And teach and model...

_ how to express and use anger and frustration effectively. Can you do that yet? Define and discuss your family's anger policy.. and be open to your child's suggestions.

    And teach older pre-teens...

_ how to disagree and confront (assert) respectfully.

__ 43strive to merit each child's trust that it's safe to express themselves with you (e.g. that you'll really listen to them respectfully). Kids (and adults) lie or clam up if it feels unsafe to tell the truth

__  Option 44)  View "rebellion" or "defiance" as normal testing by the child for (a) her or his family status and (b) personal security. Typical insecure kids need to know who's in charge of their home and family, and what the rules and consequences are - tho they won't say so, and may not like them. 

+ + +

      Did you realize how many communication choices you have with young kids? You can probably think of other strategies to improve your communication with the pre-teens in your life. Pause and reflect on what you just read - what are you aware of?.

      Now let's build on these choices by exploring...

  Effective Communication with Typical Teens

      This section hilights six significant differences between teens and adults, and offers troubleshooting tips. If there are teens in your life that you have trouble communicating with, keep them in mind as you review these...

Key Teen-Adult Differences

      These factors will affect your communication outcomes with adolescents. Recall your teen years and see if these premises feel valid:

      Teen's personalities are usually led by Inner Kids and Guardian subselves, because their resident true Self has limited real-world knowledge and life experience. Family adults may or may not be guided by their wise true Selves. When they haven't been (which is common), the teens have probably inherited psychological wounds and ignorance which will shape their priorities, perceptions, and behaviors.

      Teen's bodies are changing in exciting, alien ways which are often confusing and embarrassing to talk about with adults and some peers. One result is that their personal identity is silently shifting from boy or girl (child) to young man or woman (adult). Typical girls experience this exciting, confusing change before boys. This promotes shifts in their own and others' expectations of their capabilities and responsibilities - e.g. "You should be able to be on time by now!"

      Typical teens (and many adults) have not learned how to discuss these complex  physical, emotional, social, and family-role changes and the new needs they cause, so teens may be extra sensitive to being confused, "making mistakes," or appearing stupid or incompetent as an emerging young adult. Arrogance can be a cover for uncertainty, guilt, and shame

      Confusion is likely for all family members, because for an unpredictable period of time, typical teens can seem like two people - one moment a child, the next moment an arrogant, impulsive, idealistic, naive, thoughtful, sweet, and/or defensive young pre-adult.

      So during this transition period, you're communicating with (at least) two people in one body! Each persona has different values and priorities, and a different style. Remember what this was like?

      Experiment with the idea that at any time, you may be communicating with "Alex (or whomever) number One" (the child) or "Alex number Two" (the young adult). Both are valid. valuable  persons! 

      More teen - adult differences... 

      Most older teens are approaching the end of high school, and are experiencing bewildering choices about (a) what to do after graduation and (b) how much responsibility to assume for that. They often assume they know how the world works, and don't seek or want adult advice, lectures, limits, or warnings - unless they're living in a high-nurturance family.

      Typical teens' priorities and allegiances are shifting from their family adults to peers, with whom they need to be in constant contact. That often causes unfamiliar, concurrent adult-teen values and loyalty conflicts and relationship triangles that require adult understanding, empathy, patience, and communication skills to negotiate. Do you have those?

      Teens lack the life experience and self-awareness of adults in general, and in specific social roles like spouse, parent, voter, property owner and manager, investor, taxpayer, and self-responsible woman or man. So they will often be unable to empathize with adult needs, priorities, (some) feelings, and responsibilities. Chiding or punishing a teen for "insensitivity" or "selfishness" is usually shaming, and promotes the child's hurt, resentment, guilt, distrust, and rebellion.

      Seeking independence, peer acceptance, and excitement, many teens are vulnerable to trying risky new experiences like drugs, "defiance," breaking rules, body-mutilation, and sexual intercourse. They may sense these are "wrong," but (their dominant false selves) may feel invincible and/or rebellious and do them anyway.

      Many teens haven't learned how to assert their needs and boundaries respectfully ("tactfully"), so they may seem arrogant, rude, and selfish. This can also promote significant secrecy, denials, lying, and arguing (vs. problem-solving) with caregivers who don't fully trust the teen's judgment yet.

__  Option 45)  In important communications, remind yourself that psychologically, your teens are not adults yet. This doesn't mean you should talk down to them. Coach yourself to empathize with the differences above as you help them get ready to live safely on their own.


      With this guideline in mind, let's look at...

Troubleshooting Communications with Teens

      If you have trouble communicating effectively with an adolescent, put your true Self (and Observer) in charge and honestly assess whether any of these are contributing to the trouble. Note that most relationship and communication troubles are caused by family adults

Core Problems

      Scan this whole list before following any underlined links, Check each problem that applies, and note your thoughts and feelings.

__ You're an unrecovering Grown Wounded Child  (GWC). This will cause relationship and communication problems with most people, not just teens;

__  You're unaware of effective communication basics and skills. Take this quiz, and then apply these options;

__ The teen's birthfamily is significantly dysfunctional. If so, the child will (a) have inherited psychological wounds and (b) will not have been taught effective relationship and communication skills. This is a family-system problem, not a "problem child."

__  You're not steadily aware of the teen<>adult difference above. This makes it's unlikely you can empathize with the child's feelings and needs. If you're a GWC, you may have trouble empathizing with most or all people. 

     More core communication problems...

__ You family adults did not use the communication options for pre-teens (above).

__  You're not using respectful empathic listening in times of conflict, disagreement, or .high emotions.

__ You're arguing, fighting, avoiding, lecturing, intellectualizing, flooding, or power-struggling rather than teaching and modeling win-win problem-solving.

Other Problems

__ One or both of you are unaware of not maintain a two-person awareness bubble in important conversations.

__ One or both of you unconsciously rank your personal needs above the other's This sends a disrespectful "1-up" R-message which causes resentment, frustration, sullenness, silence, and/or anger (in anyone).

__  You're attempting important communications when one or both of you is in an mind-altered state (e.g. from chemicals),

__  The teen feels you treat them like a pre-teen, and s/he resents that. Two possible reasons are you don't trust the child's judgment yet, and/or you're unconsciously avoiding the reality s/he will soon leave you,

      Recall - we're reviewing common reasons for communication-problems with a teen in your life.

__ You're making it unsafe for the child to tell the truth, by often criticizing, ridiculing, discounting, interrupting, ignoring, lecturing, whining, mind-reading, and/or over-focusing on yourself. This is usually a sign of unawareness and a disabled true Self.

__  One or both of you are unaware of using some of these communication blocks, and you're not showing the teen how to use awareness, metatalk,  and respectful win-win problem-solving to fix them.

 __ You're expecting the teen to empathize with you, when s/he lacks the life experience to do so.

__  Your way of disciplining is ineffective or toxic, and the teen can't tell you that (or you can't hear it).

__  Some or many of these problems are also true of other family adults, mentors, and/or coaches who influence your teen

      Reality check. Consider asking your child to read the adult<>teen "differences" section above (or read it out loud), and ask for his or her reaction to each item.

Recap

      This is one of the articles in online self-improvement Lesson 6 - learn to parent effectively. From over 40 years professional study, it offers perspective on why communicating effectively with minor kids is different than with typical adults.

      The article then proposes 45 guidelines for effective communication, and a checklist of common problems communicating with typical teens.  These are based on effective-communication basics in Lesson 2. Most items in the article link to sources of more detail.

      Pause, breathe, and reflect - why did you read this article? Did you get what you needed? If not, what do you need? Who's answering these questions - your true Self, or ''someone else''?

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