The Importance of Communication

Communication is a crucial skill to possess. Good communication proves effective in maintaining a positive and healthy relationship. Especially in a parent-teen relationship, good communication is necessary. Three main strategies of communication that can be used to develop and maintain a successful relationship are to give lots of positive feedback, keep the lines of communication open, and avoid communication barriers.

One important communication strategy for parents to utilize with their teen is to give a lot of positive feedback.  Teens need to hear compliments and encouragement just like the rest of us. An abundance of deserved praise from a parent can have many positive effects on a teen. For example, when a parent shows support, it boosts self confidence in a teen. Affirmations, especially from a parent, raise a teen’s self esteem and promote a sense of self worth. Overall, positive feedback has a firm affect on the maintenance of a strong relationship, because teens will be willing to seek out their parents more if they know their opinions will be accepted.

One strategy that I can employ with my parent is to keep the lines of communication open.  Talking about everyday happenings with your parents can build a stronger connection. This is due to the fact that parents and teens will become more comfortable around each other. Comfort grows when constant listening and understanding plays out in a relationship. Comfort also encourages more conversation. Communicating regularly with your parents can show them that you are responsible enough to make your own decisions as well. For example, let’s explore a situation where a young woman, Mandy, rides to practice with a different friend than usual. Mandy knew her parents would wonder why she decided to ride to practice with Jenna, instead of Sam, her usual driver. Because of this, she told her parents that she made the decision because Sam drove too fast. As a result, her parents appreciated her good judgment. In this instance, Mandy’s parents recognized that she was responsible and will probably give her more privileges. In general, openness in a relationship can build trust.

One essential communication skill that my parent and I can appropriate as a team is to avoid communication barriers. Two key examples are criticizing and interrupting. Criticizing is defined as making a negative evaluation of the other person, his/her actions, or attitudes. Instead of criticizing, avoid negative associations and express your opinion in a better way. For example, let’s use an example where a father criticizes his son, John.  John’s dad makes a negative evaluation of John’s actions. He says that John has been bumming around for 10 weeks. As an alternative, John’s dad could have said, “John, you really haven’t been trying your hardest in the last ten weeks and it makes me angry that you are not living up to your potential.” The alternative response lets John know that his father is upset, without overdoing it. Another example of a communication barrier is interrupting. Interrupting is defined as consistently stopping the flow of the conversation by trying to say what you want or feel, without allowing the other person to be heard. As a substitute, one should continue listening attentively until the other person is finished, and then volunteer a response. Avoiding communication barriers is an effective strategy because it allows the conversation to resolve of its own volition.

Three prime strategies that can be used to construct and uphold a successful relationship are to give lots of positive feedback, keep the lines of communication open, and to avoid communication barriers. Positive feedback from a parent is effective because it raises self esteem and promotes a feeling of self value in a teen. Teens talking regularly with their parents can set the foundation for stronger relationships. Avoiding communication barriers can lead to many good conversations. This is beneficial because it also strengthens the parent-teen relationship. Ultimately, effective communication strategies between parents and teens are building blocks of lifelong, successful social interactions.

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