As we herald in the yom tov season, we anticipate spending lots of quality family time.

Dr. Lightman strongly encourages parents to speak to children of all ages, turning conversations into opportunities to develop their children’s worlds through vocabulary, syntax and meaningful ideas. Shabbos tables and dinner times are perfect forums. Read the article from which is linked below. Better yet, ask different children to read out loud. And then… let the discussions flow!

Here are 4 helpful tips to keep in mind when conversing with your teens:

  1. Listen.

When you’re curious about what’s happening in your teen’s life, consider that asking direct questions may not be the most effective approach. Instead, try simply sitting back and being a good listener. Teens are more likely to open up when they don’t feel pressured to share. Remember, even a casual remark about their day is their way of reaching out. By staying open and interested without prying, you’ll likely hear more from them.

  1. Validate.

It’s common for us to want to solve our kids’ problems or downplay their disappointments. Instead, demonstrate that you understand and empathize by reflecting their feelings back to them. Say something like, “Wow, that does sound tough.”

  1. Show trust.

Teens crave being taken seriously, especially by their parents. Find ways to convey your trust in your teenager. Asking them for a favor indicates that you rely on them, and offering them a privilege suggests that you believe they can handle it. Letting your teen know you have faith in their abilities will boost their confidence and encourage them to rise to the occasion.

  1. Give praise.

While parents often shower young children with praise, adolescents also need a self-esteem boost. Even though teenagers may act like they’re too cool to care about parental approval, the truth is they still value it. Look for opportunities to provide positive feedback and encouragement. This approach can significantly improve your relationship, particularly during more challenging times.

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