Starting tough conversations with a teen can be complicated, especially if you think they’ve been drinking or using drugs. Here are four ideas to help you get the momentum you need to start that conversation with your young adult.
Get in the car and drive. Roll down the windows and clear the air. Maybe it’s the passing road that spurs the movement of the conversation, maybe it’s that you are both physically moving in the same direction, but either way taking a drive can offer some wide-open space for a serious conversation. Just start driving and let the conversation guide you. You don’t need any destination in mind.
If you don’t want to drive that’s okay, just get your body moving. Taking a walk, a jog, or a hike together can help move the conversation along. Not only will the act of moving in the same direction help you feel more emotionally on the same level but some people find that the natural movement of the body itself helps lift the weight of a hard conversation.
Even if you don’t want to do too much physical activity while you and your teen talk, try sitting under a tree or on a bench in the park. The outdoors, the sounds and smells of nature, can help clear away the cluttered subjects rolling around in both of your brains and give you an open landscape for important conversations.
Don’t try to talk to your teen in their room about their partying habits, it might feel like an invasion, or an attack. Get out of their space and get out of your space and make sure, no matter what, that you don’t do all the talking. You’ll never hear them ask for help if you’re not listening.
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